Republicans across the U.S. are stepping up moves to investigate and prosecute voter fraud, the New York Times reports. Lorraine Minnite, a Rutgers University political science professor who has studied data on election fraud for years, says that this is happening despite the fact that "underlying level of actual criminality [has not] changed at all.” It is estimated that only 0.000677 percent of voters are even suspected of committing voter fraud. Efforts in Florida, Texas, and Georgia are under way to devote far more resources to investigate those suspicions. These include the handing over new investigative powers to police personnel in Georgia, the creation of a new prosecution unit in the Texas Attorney General's Office, and a whole new law enforcement agency in Florida, informally dubbed the election police.
Some worry that these efforts will cause voters who have made an honest mistake to be criminally charged and that this could dissuade some people from voting. In Wisconsin, for example five people were charged with felonies for listing their home address as a UPS Store even though state law requires the actual home address be used. Others argue that the increased efforts use too much taxpayer money to tackle a non-issue. In Texas, the Houston Chronicle reported that the election integrity unit at the attorney general's office has spent $2.2 million while closing only three cases so far.