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Background

In Michigan, if someone did not bring their photo ID with them, they are free to sign an affidavit as state below on the Michigan Secretary of State website:

Voting Without Photo ID

If you do not have photo ID, you can still cast a ballot simply by signing an affidavit.

The affidavit can be used by:

  • Voters who do not have acceptable photo ID
  • Voters who have photo ID but didn't bring it to the polls

Once you sign the affidavit, you may cast your ballot. It will be counted with all other ballots on Election Day.

However, there is a scenario I can imagine where I attempt to vote in two different locations as two different people, just stating that I forgot to bring my ID. And Michigan IDs do not necessarily need an address, it is possible that both people "don't have an address" on their ID. Because of this (and other scenarios that may be thought of) this lead me to ask the question:

Question

What specific safeguards are in place to prevent a person from voting multiple times in Michigan if they "forgot" to bring an ID and acts as if all the other "people" he or she votes as don't have an address on their "IDs"?

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  • 3
    What is going to stop someone from voting twice if they have different fake id's? Some of the id's on that list are not exactly hard to forge. At some point you have to realize that you are not going to stop everyone who wants to cheat the system.
    – Joe W
    Feb 22 at 15:48
  • 5
    Your name still has to be a real name and eligible to vote, and once the votes are all entered into the DB, you have a high chance of getting busted if there's multiple entries.
    – dandavis
    Feb 22 at 16:49
  • 1
    @dandavis If they confront you on it, you just insist that you're the real John Smith, and the one who already voted was the fake.
    – Ryan_L
    Feb 23 at 1:27
  • @Ryan_L how is that going to work out when the other John Smith has multiple genuine IDs and all you have is the one fake one?
    – phoog
    Feb 23 at 10:40
  • @phoog Ideally you wouldn't stick around long enough for him to show up.
    – Ryan_L
    Feb 23 at 16:49
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Like every other state, you have to register to vote, before you can actually vote. When you register to vote, you have to show your residency and eligibility to vote and are then put on the registration list at your voting precinct:

Do I need my voter registration card in order to vote?

No. As long as you are in the correct polling location, your name will appear on the registration list supplied to your precinct.

So your plan to vote multiple times with different identities wouldn't work since each of those names would have to be registered (with the requirement to show identity, residency, and citizenship in line with state law) with the appropriate voting precinct ahead of time. In theory, you could claim to be a real person who registered to vote, and use their registration in the hopes that they don't show up at the polls. But if any of them did vote, or if a poll worker (who are almost all volunteers from the local community) recognized that you weren't that person, then you'd be facing felony voter fraud charges and 4 years in prison. Because of this, pulling that off on any scale would be impossible, since it would only take one mistake to blow the whole thing and send everyone involved to jail.

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  • 12
    The risk increases greatly for every additional vote you try to cast, and the reward of a few extra votes is miniscule in terms of affecting the outcome. It would be like robbing 100 banks for $1 each to get $100.
    – JohnFx
    Feb 22 at 19:57
  • 2
    This is why all the arguments against things like voter ID laws say that there's no widespread voter fraud that needs protection against. Current voting laws permit one-offs like this, but it would be difficult to pull off enough fraud to steal a large election.
    – Barmar
    Feb 22 at 20:14
  • 20
    President Trump actually formed a commission to prove widespread voter fraud, which he staffed with some well-known voter fraud conspiracy theorists. Even this heavily biased commission with the full weight of the President and the federal government behind it, was only able to find about 4 cases in the entire US. At least one of those was an honest mistake by an elderly citizen who mailed in a ballot voting against legalizing marijuana and voted in person in the Presidential Election, not realizing that those were actually the same ballot. Feb 23 at 0:14
  • 3
    There is no requirement to prove citizenship beyond stating on the application that you are a US citizen. See michigan.gov/sos/…
    – phoog
    Feb 23 at 10:44
  • 2
    -1 for not exploring how lax the voter registration is, especially for same day vote registration which Michigan has.
    – user9790
    Feb 24 at 18:52

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