October 28th, 2010
01:22 PM ET

Letters to the President: #647 'The voter fraud watch'

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama brought lots of people out to vote two years ago who previously had not done so which also brought out critics intent on finding voter fraud.

Dear Mr. President,

I am assigned to look into allegations over voter fraud next week, so I have been reading up on the subject, and I must say it is abundantly clear from the get-go that there is no winning on this one. Whenever there is an allegation of a problem and an ensuing investigation, the best I can make out is that there will be one of two outcomes.

Either A) Investigators find the problem, deal with it, and announce their findings only to hear critics say they did not go nearly far enough, or B) Investigators find no problem, dismiss the complaint, and announce their findings only to hear critics say they did not look nearly hard enough.

As a general rule, folks on the left worry about voter suppression - the idea that some voters will be illegally intimidated or frightened away from the polls. Historically, minority groups have suffered disproportionately from this kind of tactic, and since Democrats enjoy a good measure of minority support, this tends to be a Democratic concern.

Meanwhile, also as a general rule, folks on the right worry about people voting who for legal reasons are not qualified to vote, or who vote in the wrong place, or who flat out fraudulently submit more than one voter registration…or who register to vote in the names of dead people…or things like that. Proven cases of this happening are around, but not nearly in the numbers that some on the Republican side claim.

Still, the emotions about this issue run very hot with people in both parties and I suspect if this turns out to be a very tight election, we’ll hear a lot of complaints about whose vote was counted, where and why.

All I ask of you, if it really is that close, is that your urge calm on all sides and acceptance of the rule of law once we finally do have an official tally. As much as we mistrust government these days, I fear if we develop a wholesale mistrust of the voting itself, we’re in for even bigger problems.

Call if you can.


Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. Annie Kate

    If there are a lot of cries about voter fraud no matter what investigators find there will be some individuals who will write books about it all, mostly conspiracy books, and make money off the election. It's fast becoming the American way.

    October 28, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
  2. maria browne


    Mr.Anderson I just want you to know how much I enjoy watching you every night. You are outstanding JOURNALIST.......

    Maria Browne,
    From California

    October 28, 2010 at 3:57 pm |
  3. juliecaldwell

    you people on cnn are a disgrace

    October 28, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
  4. zehfilardo

    Maybe the UN should send observers to the American elections...

    They do it in elections of Zimbabwe, Kenya, San Salvador, Bolivia,Haiti.

    It would be fair if they did it, for a change.

    October 28, 2010 at 1:43 pm |