Matt Masterson is 50 Percent Correct

By Michael Slater April 14, 2017
(Tim Evanson/Creative Commons)

Matthew Masterson, a former Ohio Republican election official and current chair of the US Election Assistance Commission claims in an interview with The Center for Public Integrity that there is very little voter fraud in America, and equally, very little voter suppression.

About voter fraud, he said: “ The reality — and this data and information comes from those who directly run elections — is that the state and local election officials, and specifically the secretaries of state across the country that looked into it, find that fraud happens. It’s not widespread. It’s not an epidemic.”

About voter suppression, Masterson said: “I can tell you my experience in Ohio. When we dug into that. It was virtually non-existent.”

He’s half right. There is very little voter fraud in America, but he’s far off base in claiming that evidence of voter suppression is “virtually non-existent.”

Project Vote has been digging into voter suppression—and filing lawsuits—in Ohio for over a decade, but we only have to go back a year to find an example. In 2015, Ohio conducted a large-scale purge of voters, including some voters who hadn’t voted since 2008. The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) prohibits election officials from purging voters on the basis of nonvoting.

In 2016, voting rights groups sued the state election officials and won. In the 2016 general election, 7,515 voters who had been purged from the rolls (but whose registrations the court had restored) cast their ballots.

Maybe Masterson thought those 7,515 voters just didn’t count.