Yglesias had a great post this morning about the relative error rate in ACORN registrations – about 30,000 out of a million. The obvious point of all of this is to simply stop mass voter registration drives, keeping the number of new voters down to only the self-motivated. But there’s been something else about this that’s been nagging at me since the whole spectre of voter registration fraud, and it hit me when I went to phone bank for Obama tonight.
Creating massive numbers of fake voter registrations would be one of the most destructive things you could do to your GOTV program.
Obama has hundreds of offices set up in states across the country. As long as this election’s gone on, there’s still only a finite amount of time to work with a finalized voter universe, make contact, confirm or persuade voters, and get them to the polls. Simply put, purposefully adding in tens or hundreds of thousands of fake voters is completely counterproductive to winning an election. It makes the several weeks before the election entirely worthless, as your entire contact list is going to be polluted with meaningless and/or redundant information.
Basically, the yield from fake registrations (a few thousand votes at most) is completely overshadowed by the large-scale obstruction it would cause to the wider realm of legitimate GOTV efforts. You can’t win an election of 100 million plus turnout with 30,000 fraudulent voters, but you sure can make it harder on yourself.