4-5 million lost votes

Due to registration errors and lost absentee ballots. Another 2-4 million were discouraged by long lines or voter ID requirements.

That’s the estimate from what looks to be a respectable academic study based on a survey with a sample size of 33,000.

Main problems: registration errors and absentee-ballot problems. Another 2-4 million were “discouraged” by long lines or ID requirments. This is why it’s so hard to take seriously the right-wing whining about “voter fraud,” a problem that must be at least two orders of magnitude* smaller.

Looks like the new technologies did substantially reduce the undervote: from 2% in 2000 to 1% in 2008.

The report was prepared for the Senate Rules Committee. So it seems likely we’re going to get some action on this.

Update A reader rebukes me for overstating the problem of false-name voting: it must be at least three orders of magnitude smaller than the vote-deprivation problem, given that (1) there are almost no actual cases documented, despite heavy searching (and strong pressure from the Bush White House to find and prosecute “voter fraud”) and (2) it would be a stupid, risky, non-cost-effective way to try to steal an election.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com