Why Do Most Countries Require Photo Voter IDs?: They Have Seen Massive Vote Fraud Problems

172 Pages Posted: 24 May 2021

See all articles by John R. Lott

John R. Lott

Crime Prevention Research Center

Date Written: May 18, 2021


Americans keep hearing that there is no need to protect against vote fraud, that fraud is either non-existent or extremely rare. We hear that regulations, such as photo voter IDs, are unnecessary and will disenfranchise voters. Yet, the United States is not unique in having this debate. Virtually all of Europe and almost all developed countries require in-person voters to use photo IDs to vote. Indeed, out of Europe’s 47-countries, only the United Kingdom hasn’t required photo IDs to vote in their entire country, but that is about to change. Similar in-person rules exist for most developed countries. The vast majority of countries ban absentee ballots for people living in their country. While some point out that eight of Europe’s 47-countries allow for proxy voting, where you can designate someone to vote on your behalf, the safe-guards used to prevent fraud are generally far more stringent than used for absentee ballots in the US. Other countries have discovered widespread voter fraud when safeguards are not used. They also understand that relying on conviction counts is unlikely to catch the vast majority of fraud that occurs. The question is: why is the US so unique in terms of not guarding against vote fraud?

Keywords: vote fraud, vote buying, voting, proxy voting, photo voter IDs, voter IDs

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Lott, John R., Why Do Most Countries Require Photo Voter IDs?: They Have Seen Massive Vote Fraud Problems (May 18, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3849068. or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3849068

John R. Lott (Contact Author)

Crime Prevention Research Center ( email )

PO Box 2293
1100 W Kent Ave
Missoula, MT 59801
United States

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