Byron York

And that's just the question of voting by felons. Minnesota Majority also found all sorts of other irregularities that cast further doubt on the Senate results.

The election was particularly important because Franken's victory gave Senate Democrats a 60th vote in favor of President Obama's national health care proposal -- the deciding vote to overcome a Republican filibuster. If Coleman had kept his seat, there would have been no 60th vote, and no Obamacare.

Voter fraud matters when contests are close. When an election is decided by a huge margin, no one can plausibly claim fraud made the difference. But the Minnesota race was excruciatingly close. And then, in the Obamacare debate, Democrats could not afford to lose even a single vote. So if there were any case that demonstrates that voter fraud both exists and has real consequences, it is Minnesota 2008.

Yet Democrats across the country continue to downplay the importance of the issue. Last year, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairman of the Democratic National Committee, denounced "the gauzy accusation that voter fraud is somehow a problem, when over and over again it has been proven that you're more likely to get hit by lightning than you are to (be) a victim of voter fraud."

Wasserman Schultz and her fellow Democrats are doing everything they can to stop reasonable anti-fraud measures, like removing ineligible voters from the rolls and voter ID. Through it all, they maintain they are simply defending our most fundamental right, the right to vote.

But voter fraud involves that right, too. "When voters are disenfranchised by the counting of improperly cast ballots or outright fraud, their civil rights are violated just as surely as if they were prevented from voting," write Fund and von Spakovsky. "The integrity of the ballot box is just as important to the credibility of elections as access to it."


Byron York

Byron York, chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner