Blackstone wrote that “it is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer”. Fortescue wrote “one would much rather that twenty guilty persons should escape the punishment of death, than that one innocent person should be condemned and suffer capitally.” Maimonides wrote “it is better and more satisfactory to acquit a thousand guilty persons than to put a single innocent one to death.” I don’t know what the correct number is (10, 20, 1000), but I do think that some such maxim is correct.
Bear these maxims in mind when thinking about voter fraud and voter suppression. The state has systems in place to prevent ineligible voters from voting fraudulently. These systems, however, suppress eligible voters. How stringent should these anti-fraud systems be? If they are too lax, too many ineligible voters will vote. If they are too strict, then too many eligible voters will be unable to vote.
I do not know what the right answer is, but consider this principle: “it is better that one ineligible voter vote fraudulently than that one eligible voter is suppressed.” I think that this is true. I also suspect that any radically different principle is false. That is, it is not true that it is better that ten ineligible voters vote fraudulently than that one eligible voter is suppressed; and, it is not true that it is better that one ineligible voter vote fraudulently than that ten eligible voters are suppressed. But these are suspicions, and I am eager to learn what others think.