But the findings of North Carolina's involvement in Crosscheck quickly ignited a media firestorm, especially in the conservative media: "N.C. State Board Finds More than 35K Incidents of 'Double Voting' in 2012" trumpeted National Review. "Oh My: Audit Finds Evidence of Widespread Voter Fraud in North Carolina" blared Townhall.com.
Dick Morris, the conservative comentator and former political operative, made even more wild claims, claiming in an editorial for The Hill that North Carolina's findings offered "concrete proof that massive voter fraud might have taken place in the 2012 election, sufficiently widespread to have tainted more than 1 million votes nationwide."
CROSS-CHECK'S CHECKERED HISTORY
As Facing South was one of the first to report, however, the North Carolina election board's data offered little proof of rampant fraud. The 35,750 figure represented people who, when plugged into Crosscheck's database of voter files from 28 states, had the same first name, last name and date as birth of people who had voted in other states in 2012. But many of those can be explain by clerical errors and the fact that a surprisingly large number of people in different states share the same names and birthday.
The seemingly more troubling figure was 765: That was the number Crosscheck flagged as people whose names, birth date and the last four digits of their Social Security matched as having voted in North Carolina and another state in 2012. Hans von Spakovsky, a voting fraud crusader who used to work for the Federal Elections Commission and is now based at the conservative Heritage Foundation, said that was proof North Carolina "had the goods."
Yet the history of the Crosscheck program offers little evidence to suggest such "goods" -- in the form of verifiable, prosecuted cases of voting fraud -- will ever emerge. The fact-checking group PunditFact, in a report drawing on Facing South's analysis, rated Morris' claims as "false," noting that Kobach himself admits few of the potential fraud cases have resulted in proof of criminal wrongdoing.
In a September 2013 presentation about the program, Crosscheck founder Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State, readily acknowledges that out of 84 million records analyzed, only 14 had even been referred for prosecution. Kobach's presentation doesn't list any cases of a voter actually being convicted of fraud. Furthermore, in Crosscheck's 2014 participation guide for states, they admit that "a significant number of apparent double votes are false positives and not double votes. Many are the result of errors -- voters sign the wrong line in the poll book, election clerks scan the wrong line with a barcode scanner."
PunditFact interviewed Michael McDonald, a political scientist at George Mason University, who described other clerical mistakesthat can lead to false claims of double-voting:
You find missing data, or worse, a missing data code. They might plug in '9999' when they don't have a Social Security number and people are getting matched on that missing data code.
Link to original article from Facing South