Letter responding to attacks in the Los Angeles Times, Discussing President’s Election Integrity Commission

30 Sep , 2017  

The Los Angeles Times had a news article by Lauren Rosenblatt attacking Dr. John Lott’s testimony to the President’s Election Integrity Commission.

John Lott, head of the gun rights advocacy group Crime Prevention Research Center, suggested such a process would ease the concerns of those worried about fraudulent voting.

“It might be a way Democrats can use a system they claim works very well to go and prove, essentially, to Republicans that there’s no fraud,” said Lott, who last year criticized the same National Instant Criminal Background Check System as a “mess.”

Every credible study of voting fraud has determined it is either virtually nonexistent or too rare to affect outcomes. . . .

The Times didn’t publish Lott’s response, but this is what was submitted.

Dear Letters Editor:

The Times misleadingly reported on my testimony last week to the President’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity (“Voter fraud commission is urged to consider using gun background-check system for voter eligibility,” 9/12). It isn’t even obvious that the Times’ reporter listened to my testimony.

It is true that the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) was originally designed for gun purchases, not to determine someone’s eligibility to vote. But with its information on citizenship and criminal backgrounds, the NICS system could easily serve a dual purpose.

The Times belittles my proposal, pointing out that I have labeled the NICS “a mess.” But as I explained in my testimony and writings, these flaws are either easily fixable or irrelevant to screening for illegal voters. According to Democrats, NICS is simple, accurate, “without in any way abridging rights.” So it is hypocritical for Democrats to act as though the NICS would be a disaster for voters’ rights.

While background checks on guns are expensive and do prevent the law-abiding poor, particularly minorities, from obtaining guns for self-defense, the cost of checking voters would be trivial since it isn’t necessary to call in separately for each voter registration (the computerized databases for voters can be checked all at once).

As to NICS misidentifying people, the solutions are simple. For example, check a person’s exact name, not phonetically similar ones. Use Social Security numbers.


John R. Lott, Jr., Ph.D.
Crime Prevention Research Center



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