Von Spakovsky, for one, counters that warnings of voter disenfranchisement are not substantiated. A former Federal Election Commissioner and now a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, von Spakovsky wrote an analysis this year noting that turnout in Georgia did not decline after its enactment of a voter ID law but actually increased.
The polarized debate "is sometimes frustrating," said von Spakovsky, who recently published a book with Fund titled "Who's Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk." "But I feel like people who are in favor of election integrity are winning. Because in all the litigation that's been filed over the last 10 years, the people challenging these laws have almost uniformly lost."
Adams, who worked with von Spakovsky at the Justice Department, is on the vanguard of that litigation as principal of the Election Law Center, a conservative law firm focused on voter fraud. Adams has been involved in more than three dozen voting-related lawsuits all over the country, he said, including in Ohio, Florida, Guam and Texas. He pointed to his role helping ensure that a Minnesota voter ID proposal will be considered as a ballot initiative this fall.
"You've heard all these people say it's legislators who tend to pass voter ID," Adams said. "We're going to find out in November whether an entire state wants it. So I'm particularly happy to have helped get that on the ballot in November."
Von Spakovsky and Adams served at the Justice Department at a time when the Brennan Center lawyers, among others, accused the agency of using politically motivated prosecutions to suppress the vote. Conservatives counter that the agency has politicized election issues by turning a blind eye to abuses. Adams wrote a best-selling book after leaving the agency titled "Injustice: Exposing the Racial Agenda of the Obama Justice Department."
About the only thing both sides agree on is that their opponents have the facts wrong. Whichever side public opinion and the courts land on, the cottage industry of anti-fraud law, not unlike the voter protection movement, can only grow.
"These are beginning lawsuits for us. We're in it for the long haul," Fitton said.
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., right, hugs Harold Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters, after the Congressman spoke at the IAFF's Legislative Conference General Session at the Hyatt Regency on Capitol Hill, March 9, 2015. The day featured addresses by members of Congress and Vice President Joe Biden.