In Wisconsin, voter fraud is rampant. Or so thought U.S. Attorney Steven Biskupic, who began a hunt for fraudulent voters after John Kerry won Wisconsin by just 11,000 votes over George W. Bush in 2004, in an election that Republicans claimed was tainted by widespread voter fraud. But by the time he completed his work, Biskupic reported that he had uncovered no conspiracy to commit fraud. His prosecutors ended up charging only 14 people with voting illegally—and only four of them, all felons ineligible to vote, were convicted.
Lawmakers in many states are saying that there’s only one way to stop this epidemic of fraud: have every voter show ID at the polls—ideally a state-issued photo ID. But experts on elections say that voter fraud of the kind that could be countered by ID requirements is rare. What’s more, requiring photo IDs would disenfranchise millions of voters. The supposed remedy, these experts say, would turn out to be far worse than the actual problem.