Economist Calls for Adapting Gun Background Checks to Prevent Voter Fraud

The Daily Signal | 9/12/2017 | Staff
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GOFFSTOWN, New Hampshire—Republicans and Democrats could achieve a bipartisan compromise in preventing voter fraud by applying a Justice Department background check system already in place for gun buyers, a noted economist told the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity meeting here Tuesday.

The commission met at St. Anselm College, its second public gathering since President Donald Trump appointed the bipartisan group of state election officials and election law experts earlier this year.

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“A lot of the same rules that determine if someone is eligible to vote determine if you are legally eligible to own a gun,” said John Lott, president of the Crime Prevention Research Center, who was part of the first panel of experts for the commission’s meeting.

The National Instant Criminal Background Check System, also known as NICS, is used to check the background of gun buyers. Among other things, it includes information on felony convictions, or if someone is in the country illegally. Citizenship is a requirement to vote, while states have varying rules on voting rights for felons.

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However, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap objected to the idea.

“This would be a sterling example of the law of unintended consequences,” Dunlap said. “NICS wasn’t intended for elections.”

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Lott said he saw no reason NICS could not be used for background checks to ensure voter eligibility at no cost to the voter, and would be a “trivial cost” to states. He noted that Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., had praised the NICS system.

“This would be one-stop shopping,” Lott said. “This has been hashed out in political debates. If this is a system people honestly believe over time … doesn’t suppress a person’s right legally own a gun, presumably these same people believe it will not suppress voter turnout.”

Commission - Member - Hans - Von - Spakovsky

Commission member Hans von Spakovsky, a senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, stepped...
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