State Election Officials Throw Cold Water On Conservative Voter Fraud Fears
Research ››› ››› JULIE ALDERMAN
Election officials in states across the nation have found no evidence of widespread voter fraud during the 2016 election, contradicting claims from President Donald Trump and right-wing media that voter fraud is rampant in elections.
Trump Announces Commission On “Election Integrity”
Trump Announces “Commission On Election Integrity.” ABC News reported that President Donald Trump “is expected to sign an executive order today establishing a commission to review alleged voter fraud and voter suppression in the American election system.” According to ABC, Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will lead the "‘Presidential Commission on Election Integrity,’” which “will be tasked with studying ’vulnerabilities’" in U.S. voting systems and potential effects on ‘improper voting, fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting.’" From the May 11 ABC News report:
President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order today establishing a commission to review alleged voter fraud and voter suppression in the American election system, multiple senior administration officials tell ABC News.
The officials say Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will be announced as Chair and Vice Chair of the ‘Presidential Commission on Election Integrity’ in a press release today. It's not clear whether the White House will allow coverage of the order signing.
The commission, which will include Republicans and Democrats, will be tasked with studying "vulnerabilities" in U.S. voting systems and potential effects on "improper voting, fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting," according to one official with knowledge of the announcement.
Administration officials would not provide a draft copy of the order but described its scope to ABC News. The commission's review is expected be broad in scope, and will not just address Trump's allegations about the 2016 election but also "systemic issues that have been raised over many years in terms of the integrity of the elections," one official said. [ABC News, 5/11/17]
During His Campaign And Now As President, Trump Has Resurrected A Variety Of Voter Fraud Myths To Cast Doubt On Election Integrity
Trump Claimed “People Are Going To Walk In” And “Vote Ten Times” Without Voter ID Laws. During an interview with then-Fox host Bill O’Reilly, Trump, then the Republican presidential nominee, claimed that without voter ID laws, “people are going to walk in, they're going to vote 10 times maybe.” He cited allegations about fraud in the 2012 election, saying, “When the vote came out, there were some districts who were really shockingly different from what they were anticipated to be.” Trump warned authorities and Republicans to be “very watchful” because “it’s rigged here.” From the August 2 edition of Fox News’ The O’Reilly Factor:
BILL O'REILLY (HOST): Why would you think that the election would be rigged?
DONALD TRUMP: Well I'm looking at all of these decisions coming on down from the standpoint of identification, voter ID. And I'm saying, what do you mean you don't have to have voter ID to now go in and vote? And it's a little bit scary. And I've heard a lot of bad things. I must say, four years ago, I was hearing a lot of bad things having to do with the [Mitt] Romney campaign where, when the vote came out, there were some districts who were really shockingly different from what they were anticipated to be. And I've been seeing it and I've been hearing it a lot. But the whole thing with voter ID, identification, I think is really -- I mean people are going to walk in, they're going to vote 10 times maybe. Who knows? They're going to vote 10 times. So I am very concerned and I hope the Republicans are going to be very watchful. But I hope the authorities are going to be very watchful because I want to tell you, I believe it's going to be just like Bernie Sanders -- I said it was rigged. Well, it's rigged here too, believe me. So I just hope the Republicans are going to be very watchful. [Fox News, The O’Reilly Factor, 8/2/16]
CBS News: Trump Stoked “Fears Of Widespread Voter Fraud,” Citing Voter Registration Fraud, Dead Voter Fraud, And Noncitizen Voting Fraud. CBS News reported on Trump’s accusations, made during a rally in Wisconsin, that there will be “widespread voter fraud,” that “people that have died 10 years ago are still voting,” and that “illegal immigrants are voting.” Trump also claimed that “one in eight voter registrations is no longer valid” and voiced concerns that people with “inaccurate voter registrations will be voting for someone else next month.” Citing Obama winning “more than 80 percent of the votes of non-citizens in the 2008 sample,” Trump emphasized the potential for noncitizen voter fraud and said, “Politicians don’t tell you about this when they tell you how legitimate all of these elections are.” From the October 17 article:
Donald Trump continued on Monday his claims that the 2016 election is “rigged” against him, stoking fears of widespread voter fraud in an interview and a rally speech.
“They even want to try to rig the election at the polling booths and believe me there’s a lot going on,” he told supporters at a rally in Green Bay, Wisconsin. “Do you ever hear these people? They say ‘there’s nothing going on.’ People that have died 10 years ago are still voting, illegal immigrants are voting -- I mean, where are the street smarts of some of these politicians?”
On Monday night, Trump told the crowd that voter fraud is “very, very common” and that one in eight voter registrations is no longer valid, numbers that come from a Pew Research study in 2012. He made similar arguments in an interview with Fox News on Monday.
“When you look at the voter fraud, when you look at illegal immigrants voting all over the country, when you look at people that died 10 years ago -- I mean, there is one person that died 21 years ago and that person is still voting,” he said. “Was a Republican now, votes Democrat, which is sort of an interesting phenomena. We have voters all over the country where they are not even citizens of the country and they are voting.”
Trump then suggested that all of those potentially inaccurate voter registrations will be voting for someone else next month.
“Well, if they are going to vote for me we will think about it, right?” he said. “But I have a feeling they aren’t going to vote for me. Of the 1.8 million, 1.8 million is voting for someone else. Approximately 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state.”
Though Republicans have frequently referenced concerns about voter fraud, especially when crafting legislation to require voter IDs or enforce other voting restrictions, there is no evidence that voter fraud is a widespread problem.
“Non-citizens tend to favor Democrats, to put it mildly. Obama won more than 80 percent of the votes of non-citizens in the 2008 sample,” he said. “You don’t read about this right? They don’t tell you about this – your politicians don’t tell you about this when they tell you how legitimate all of these elections are. They don’t want to tell you about this.” [CBS News, 10/17/16]
Trump Told Lawmakers That “Between 3 Million And 5 Million Illegal Votes Caused Him To Lose The Popular Vote.” The Washington Post reported that following his inauguration, Trump “insisted to congressional leaders invited to a reception at the White House that he would have won the popular vote had it not been for millions of illegal votes.” From the January 23 article:
Days after being sworn in, President Trump insisted to congressional leaders invited to a reception at the White House that he would have won the popular vote had it not been for millions of illegal votes, according to people familiar with the meeting.
Trump has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that widespread voter fraud caused him to lose the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, even while he clinched the presidency with an electoral college victory.
Two people familiar with the meeting said Trump spent about 10 minutes at the start of the bipartisan gathering rehashing the campaign. He also told them that between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused him to lose the popular vote. [The Washington Post, 1/23/17]
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer Said That Trump Believes In Mass Voter Fraud In Part Due To A Study “That Came Out Of Pew In 2008 That Showed 14 Percent Of People Who Have Voted Were Not Citizens.” During the January 24 press briefing, White House press secretary Sean Spicer cited a debunked study “that came out of Pew in 2008 that showed 14 percent of people who have voted were not citizens” in an attempt to defend his boss’s claim that three to five million illegal votes caused him to lose the popular vote:
I think there have been studies; there was one that came out of Pew in 2008 that showed 14 percent of people who have voted were not citizens. There are other studies that were presented to him. [The Washington Post, 1/24/17; PolitiFact, 1/25/17]
Trump: “I Will Be Asking For A Major Investigation Into VOTER FRAUD.” Trump declared that he would be “asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD” in a series of tweets on January 25. Trump claimed that “depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!”: [Twitter, 1/25/17, 1/25/17]
Election Officials In At Least 19 States And Washington, DC, Found No Evidence Of Widespread Voter Fraud
The Arizona Republic: Officials “Saw No Evidence Of Widespread Problems In November’s Elections.” According to The Arizona Republic, “State officials say they saw no evidence of widespread problems in November's election.” The Republic quoted Arizona’s Secretary of State Michele Reagan as saying, “We can say with pretty much confidence that we didn't have widespread voter fraud in Arizona.” From the January 26 report:
As elections officials nationwide await President Donald Trump's executive order for an investigation into voter fraud, state officials say they saw no evidence of widespread problems in November's election.
"We can say with pretty much confidence that we didn't have widespread voter fraud in Arizona," Secretary of State Michele Reagan said after Trump signaled his intentions Jan. 25. He has delayed the formal issuance of his order, and a firm date for the announcement is not set. [The Arizona Republic, 1/27/17]
CALMatters: Cases Of Voter Fraud In California Amounted To “0.001%” Of Voters Cast And “Certainly Not Enough To Sway The Election.” As CALMatters’ Laurel Rosenhall noted, there was “not much” voter fraud found in California, “certainly not enough to sway the election.” Rosenhall reported, “The cases the Secretary of State is investigating and those it referred to counties amount to one one-thousandth of one percent (0.001%) of the more than 23 million votes cast in California’s primary and general elections last year.” From the March 8 CALMatters report:
With President Donald Trump alleging serious voter fraud in California, and the state’s top election official calling his claim untrue, how much voter fraud is actually under investigation in the Golden State?
Not much—certainly not enough to sway the election, in which California voters chose Hillary Clinton over Trump by 4.3 million votes.
And while the California Secretary of State is investigating some cases of potential fraud, not a single case opened last year involves allegations of voting by an immigrant who is in the country illegally—a stark contrast to the picture painted by Trump.
The Secretary of State received 948 election-related complaints in 2016, according to its response to a CALmatters’ Public Records Act request. The office determined that more than half (525) did not merit criminal investigation. Of the remaining complaints, 140 are still being screened, 194 were non-criminal problems referred to local officials, and 89 triggered investigations by the Secretary of State.
The office did not provide details on the 194 cases it sent to local authorities. But of the 89 investigations the Secretary of State opened in 2016: 56 are allegations of double voting, 16 are allegations of fraudulent voter registration and 1 is an alleged case of fraudulent voting. The rest allege wrongdoing by candidates, petition circulators and others who work in the elections arena – not by voters themselves.
Together, the cases the Secretary of State is investigating and those it referred to counties amount to one one-thousandth of one percent (0.001%) of the more than 23 million votes cast in California’s primary and general elections last year. [CALMatters, 3/8/17]
Newsweek: Colorado Secretary Of State Found One “Lone Voter Fraud Case In 2016.” According to Newsweek, the Colorado secretary of state said that there was only one “lone voter fraud case in 2016.” [Newsweek, 3/22/17]
Connecticut Post: “Of 1.6 Million Ballots Cast Statewide In The 2016 Election, 16 Complaints Are Under Review.” As the Connecticut Post reported, “voter fraud is exceedingly rare” in the state, adding, “When improper votes are cast, it’s often the result of an honest mistake — such as someone thinking they live in Westport when, in fact, they live in Weston.” The report quoted a state election official who said, “Of 1.6 million ballots cast statewide in the 2016 election, 16 complaints are under review.” From the February 19 article:
In the world of President Donald Trump and his senior policy adviser, Stephen Miller, the United States is awash in voter fraud — enough to give defeated Democrat Hillary Clinton the popular vote and a victory in New Hampshire.
But in southwestern Connecticut and the rest of the state, voter fraud is exceedingly rare. When improper votes are cast, it’s often the result of an honest mistake — such as someone thinking they live in Westport when, in fact, they live in Weston.
“When you look at the millions of votes cast in Connecticut, the number (of illegal votes) is very small,” said Michael Brandi, executive director and general counsel of Connecticut’s State Elections Enforcement Commission, which fields and investigates complaints of election-law impropriety.
Of 1.6 million ballots cast statewide in the 2016 election, 16 complaints are under review, Brandi said. A commission log of cases involving “voting irregularities” has about 90 entries dating back to 1975. [Connecticut Post, 2/19/17]
NY Times: Out Of Millions Of Votes, Georgia Officials “Opened 25 Inquiries” Into Voter Fraud. The New York Times reported that out of over 4 million ballots in Georgia, “‘officials said they had opened 25 inquiries into ‘suspicious voting or election-related activity.’” [The New York Times, 12/18/16]
The Hill: Iowa’s Secretary Of State Found “Just 10 Improperly Cast Votes Out Of About 1.6 Million.” Paul Pate, the Republican secretary of state of Iowa, said that his office “was aware of just 10 improperly cast votes out of about 1.6 million cast,” according to The Hill. The report also added, “One of those votes was cast by a felon whose voting rights had been restored in Wisconsin but not Iowa, and another was cast by a noncitizen who turned herself in after she found she wasn’t eligible to vote.” From the March 6 Hill report:
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate’s (R) office said it was aware of just 10 improperly cast votes out of about 1.6 million cast. The Associated Press found that one of those votes was cast by a felon whose voting rights had been restored in Wisconsin but not Iowa, and another was cast by a noncitizen who turned herself in after she found she wasn’t eligible to vote. [The Hill, 3/6/17]
Kentucky Attorney General: There Is “No Evidence Of Voter Fraud Related To The 2016 Election.” According to The Daily Independent, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said his office “has no evidence of voter fraud related to the 2016 presidential election,” adding, “All allegations investigated by the Office of Attorney General related to that election have been investigated and all complaints have been closed.” From the January 25 Daily Independent article:
A spokesman for Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear said his office received 277 complaints about the Nov. 8 election - most of them procedural questions.
Other complaints focused on election officials, voting machines or electioneering within 100 feet of the polls that is illegal in Kentucky, said Terry Sebastian. There were nine allegations of vote buying.
“The Attorney General’s office has no evidence of voter fraud related to the 2016 presidential election,” Beshear said. “All allegations investigated by the Office of Attorney General related to that election have been investigated and all complaints have been closed.
“While there have been several convictions for vote buying between 2011 and 2016, to our knowledge, they did not involve federal elections,” said Beshear.
Kentucky’s chief elections official, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, said Wednesday “there is no basis in fact or in reality for any claim, accusation or belief that there is widespread voter impersonation sufficient to impact the presidential race.” [The Daily Independent, 1/25/17]
Louisiana Secretary Of State: “Louisiana Did Not Have Any Widespread Irregularities Or Allegations Of Fraud.” According to a report by The Associated Press, Tom Schedler, the Republican secretary of state of Louisiana, said that the state “‘did not have any widespread irregularities or allegations of fraud’ during the 2016 presidential election.” From the January 25 report:
Republican Secretary of State Tom Schedler is defending Louisiana's elections system, as President Donald Trump announced an investigation into voter fraud in the fall election.
Schedler released a statement Wednesday (Jan. 25) saying: "Louisiana did not have any widespread irregularities or allegations of fraud" during the 2016 presidential election. [The Associated Press, 1/25/17]
NY Times: “Maine’s Secretary Of State Says No Voter Fraud Was Detected.” According to The New York Times, “Maine’s secretary of state says no voter fraud was detected” in the presidential election. [The New York Times, 12/18/16]
NBC Washington: “No Major Fraud Or Attempted Fraud Had Been Detected Or Reported” In Maryland. According to an NBC Washington report, “no major fraud or attempted fraud had been detected or reported” in Maryland. The report quotes the deputy administrator of the Maryland State Board of Elections who said, “‘In Maryland we have had no coordinated effort to impact the outcome of the election,’” adding that “she knew of two cases of fraud in her 13 years on the board.” From the January 25 NBC Washington report:
An election official in Maryland also said no major fraud or attempted fraud had been detected or reported.
"In Maryland we have had no coordinated effort to impact the outcome of the election," Maryland State Board of Elections deputy administrator Nikki Charlson said.
Charlson said she knew of two cases of fraud in her 13 years at the board. [NBC Washington, 1/25/17]
The Hill: Michigan Found “31 Individuals Who Voted Twice” In 2016 General Election. The Hill reported that Michigan election officials found “31 individuals who voted twice in November’s elections.” According to the Detroit Free Press, over 4.8 million votes were cast in the 2016 presidential race. [Detroit Free Press, 11/23/16; The Hill, 3/6/17]
CBS Minnesota: Minnesota Had “Not A Single Case Of Voter Irregularity.” CBS Minnesota reported that the secretary of state found “not a single case of voter irregularity” within “six weeks after all Minnesota’s votes were counted.” From the CBS Minnesota report:
Contrary to pre-election predictions, there is no evidence after the election of vote rigging, fraud, double voting, or any widespread conspiracy.
That’s including Minnesota, where citizens voted in record numbers, earning the country’s top spot for voter turnout at 74.4 percent.
“There was was no rigging,” Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said. “There was no fixing.”
Six weeks after all Minnesota’s votes were counted, Secretary Simon says there is, so far, not a single case of voter irregularity.
“The reports we got from all 87 counties and municipalities across Minnesota is that we had a very fair, very clean, very honest, very open, very transparent election,” Simon said. [CBS Minnesota, 12/20/16]
USA Today: “Reports From The Field Show No Voter Fraud Irregularities In Mississippi.” According to USA Today, Mississippi’s Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said that “reports from the field show no voter fraud irregularities in Mississippi.” The USA Today report quoted Hosemann, who said that people “legally voted in the state of Mississippi.” From the January 25 USA Today report:
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, said reports from the field show no voter fraud irregularities in Mississippi so investigators can skip his state.
Hosemann said Trump got about 58 percent of the votes in Mississippi. “Whatever it was - that’s the people that legally voted in the state of Mississippi,” he said. [USA Today, 1/25/17]
News Channel Nebraska: Out Of Over 850,000 Votes, Only Two Cases Of Voter Fraud Were Under Investigation. News Channel Nebraska reported that two men were “accused of vote fraud” in Nebraska for voting “more than once” in the 2016 election. However, the report noted, “out of 860,000 votes cast in the state last fall the two Class IV felony charges in Lexington are the only cases of possible vote fraud under investigation. Estimates find the two cases representing 0.00023 percent of the total vote.” [News Channel Nebraska, 1/30/17]
Nevada Officials Are “Unaware Of Any Evidence To Support … Claims Of Voter Fraud.” The Las Vegas Review Journal reported that the state’s Republican secretary of state said “her office is unaware of any evidence to support President Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud.” From the January 25 report:
Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske said Wednesday that her office is unaware of any evidence to support President Donald Trump’s claims of voter fraud.
“There is no evidence of voters illegally casting ballots at the most recent election in Nevada,” Cegavske, a Republican, said in a statement.
“The secretary of state’s office is aware of attempted fraud related to voter registration in Nevada; however, with the help of local election officials, we were able to investigate and make one arrest.” [Las Vegas Review-Journal, 1/25/17]
WMUR: New Hampshire Governor Said He “Is Unaware Of Widespread Voter Fraud.” Republican Gov. Chris Sununu told WMUR that “he is unaware of widespread voter fraud in the Granite State,” referring to claims the Trump administration made “that thousands of people from Massachusetts were bused into New Hampshire to vote illegally in the November election.” From the WMUR article:
Gov. Chris Sununu said Monday he is unaware of widespread voter fraud in the Granite State, but he said he wants to work with President Donald Trump’s administration to “learn of any evidence they may have.”
The governor issued a statement to WMUR.com after several days of a media and social media firestorm over Trump’s assertion – and the assertion of Trump's senior White House policy adviser – that thousands of people from Massachusetts were bused into New Hampshire to vote illegally in the November election.
Neither produced evidence of their claims, and a Federal Election Commission member called on Trump to produce evidence. [WMUR, 2/13/17]
New Mexico Secretary Of State: Trump’s Widespread Voter Fraud Claims “Are Simply Not True.” New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse issued a statement saying claims of widespread voter fraud “are simply not true.” [KRGW, 1/25/17]
NY Daily News: NY Attorney General Has “Not Found Any Substantiated Claim Of Voter Fraud During The 2016 Elections.” The New York Daily News reported that New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman called voter fraud a “non-issue” in the state, writing, “His office had not found any substantiated claim of voter fraud during the 2016 elections.” Additionally, the attorney general's office “received more than 2,000 calls during the election cycle and only two involved possible fraud. One was investigated and found to be unfounded, while the other could not be investigated because of a lack of information from the caller.” From the February 22 New York Daily News report:
Voter fraud is a “non-issue” in New York State, state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman reported Wednesday.
Schneiderman, in a letter to Democratic leaders in the House of Representatives, said his office had not found any substantiated claim of voter fraud during the 2016 elections.
Schneiderman reported that his office received more than 2,000 calls during the election cycle and only two involved possible fraud. One was investigated and found to be unfounded, while the other could not be investigated because of a lack of information from the caller.
Additionally, the state Board of Elections has not referred any suspected cases of voter fraud to the Attorney General’s Office for investigation or prosecution, he said. [New York Daily News, 2/22/17]
Post-Election Audit Findings In North Carolina “Contradict Republican Claims That Voter Fraud Runs Rampant” In The State. The North Carolina State Board of Elections found in a post-election audit that “about 500 ineligible voters cast ballots in the 2016 general election,” which, according to a report from the Associated Press (AP), was “not enough to change the outcome of any race.” The AP reported that the audit findings -- including that “most incidents [of ineligible votes cast were] isolated and uncoordinated” and that the ineligible votes represent “a tiny fraction” of total ballots cast -- “contradict Republican claims that voter fraud runs rampant in North Carolina.” From the April 21 report:
North Carolina elections officials found that about 500 ineligible voters cast ballots in the 2016 general election — but not enough to change the outcome of any race, according to an audit released Friday.
The State Board of Elections report said the 508 cases — the vast majority active felons — represented a small fraction of the 4.8 million ballots cast. The report didn't include any evidence of coordinated fraud, and many of the voters claimed to be confused about their eligibility.
Cincinnati Enquirer: Instances Of Voter Fraud In Ohio Are “Far From The Widespread Voter Fraud President Donald Trump Has Claimed.” The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that 82 non-citizens cast ballots in at least one election in Ohio, adding “Non-citizens make up fewer than 1 in every 20,000 registered voters – far from the widespread voter fraud President Donald Trump has claimed.” From the February 27 Enquirer report:
Nearly 400 non-citizens are registered to vote in Ohio – 82 of whom have managed to cast ballots in at least one election, Secretary of State Jon Husted said Monday.
Husted, a Republican and likely candidate for Ohio governor, said his office discovered the 385 registrations from non-citizens during a biennial review of the state's voter database. In total, 7.9 million people were registered to vote in Ohio as of the November election, so the non-citizens make up fewer than 1 in every 20,000 registered voters – far from the widespread voter fraud President Donald Trump has claimed. [Cincinnati Enquirer, 2/27/17]
Oregon Secretary Of State: Voter Fraud “Did Not Occur In Oregon” During 2016 Election. OregonLive reported that in an open letter to Trump, Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson wrote, “We are confident that voter fraud in last November's election did not occur in Oregon.” [OregonLive, 2/20/17]
Pennsylvania Department Of State: “We Have No Evidence At All Of Voter Fraud.” In an email to PennLive, a spokesperson for the Pennsylvania Department of State dismissed allegations of widespread voter fraud in the election, writing, "We have no evidence at all of voter fraud. There is no evidence that undocumented immigrants voted in November." [PennLive, 1/25/17]
NY Times: Tennessee Is “Investigating One Allegation Of Noncitizen Voting.” As The New York Times noted, “Tennessee is still investigating one allegation of noncitizen voting.” This one allegation is out of over 2.5 million votes cast in the presidential election. [The New York Times, 12/18/16, 2/10/17]
Utah Lieutenant Governor: Allegations Of Widespread Voter Fraud Are “Completely Unsubstantiated.” The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox said that allegations of widespread voter fraud in the election are “completely unsubstantiated.” [The Salt Lake Tribune, 11/28/16]
Virginia Election Commissioner: “Claims Of Voter Fraud In Virginia” During The Election “Are Unfounded.” CNN reported that Edgardo Cortés, the commissioner of elections in Virginia, said, “The claims of voter fraud in Virginia during the November 8 election are unfounded,” adding, “The election was fair and all votes cast by eligible voters were accurately counted." [CNN, 11/28/16]
NBC Washington: “D.C. Board Of Elections Has Not Received Any Reports Of Voter Fraud Connected To The 2016 Presidential Election.” According to an NBC Washington report, “The D.C. Board of Elections has not received any reports of voter fraud connected to the 2016 presidential election.” Voter outreach specialist Tamara Robinson told NBC Washington that, “as far as malicious intent for voter fraud, we have not experienced that,” in D.C. From the January 25 NBC Washington report:
The D.C. Board of Elections has not received any reports of voter fraud connected to the 2016 presidential election, voter outreach specialist Tamara Robinson said.
"As far as malicious intent for voter fraud, we have not experienced that," she said.
Like other jurisdictions, D.C. compares data from multiple sources to confirm that voters are eligible.
Any snags that do occur are related to innocent errors, Robinson said. For example, a man was marked as having voted twice after an election official erroneously recorded him and his son, who had the same name, as one person. [NBC Washington, 1/25/17]
Casper Star-Tribune: “There Is No Evidence Of Widespread Voter Fraud In The Cowboy State During The 2016 Election.” The Casper Star-Tribune wrote about Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Murray's comments on voter fraud, saying he reported “no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the Cowboy State during the 2016 election.” Murray told the paper, “‘I don’t believe there is any widespread, or even a scintilla, of voting fraud.’” [Casper Star-Tribune, 5/14/17]
Conservative Media Figures Hyped Fears Of Widespread Voter Fraud In The 2016 Election
Fox’s Sean Hannity Pushed Misleading Statistics To Hype Fears Of Voter Fraud. On the August 2 edition of Fox News’ Hannity, host Sean Hannity speculated about the possibility of voter fraud in upcoming presidential elections, claiming that in 2012, “Mitt Romney did not get a single vote” in dozens of precincts in Philadelphia. Theories of voter fraud in the highly Democratic district have been widely dismissed, however. From the August 2 edition of Hannity:
SEAN HANNITY (HOST): Let's go back to the earlier issue of Trump saying, we've got to be careful that it's rigged. Now we did learn that the DNC rigged a system with super delegates, and the DNC was fully behind Hillary Clinton the entire way, and the emails proved that. Here's an interesting statistic. The Philly Inquirer, one week after the 2012 election, pointed out that in 59 separate precincts in inner-city Philadelphia, that Mitt Romney did not get a single vote, not one. And according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer, there were nine precincts in Cleveland alone, again, not a single Romney vote -- not one. Now, maybe I'm conspiratorial. Maybe this is a stretch. But 70 districts in two cities? 70-plus districts, not a single vote for Romney? Is that possible? [Fox News, Hannity, 8/2/16]
Wash. Times Op-ed Claimed “Voter Fraud Is Real” Because “At Least 1,000 Non-Citizens Registered To Vote During The 2008 And 2012 Elections.” Conservative columnist Tammy Bruce published an op-ed in The Washington Times, claiming that “voter fraud is real” and cited a watchdog group in Virginia that “found at least 1,000 non-citizens registered to vote during the 2008 and 2012 elections.” From the October 5 article:
Voter fraud is real, however, and is happening now as we prepare to vote in the most important presidential election of our lives.
That effort is to secure the voting system for citizens by making sure only citizens are voting. The Democrats argue it’s “racist” to demand ID at the polls. They know that’s not true, as evidenced by the fact that they don’t demand an end to ID requirements in any other aspect of living our lives. After all, if it’s racist to ask for an ID at a voting booth, why isn’t it so at an airport, or to get into a federal building, or to open a checking account?
Now with 34 days to Election Day, the reality of the continuing seriousness of voter fraud is becoming apparent.
Now in Virginia, another critical swing state, a watchdog group has found at least 1,000 non-citizens registered to vote during the 2008 and 2012 elections, according to PoliZette.
At the time, the Motor Voter Law, pushed by the Clinton administration, was decried as swinging open the door for election fraud, which, when I was on the left and a community organizer when this was implemented, it was jokingly referred to as “expanding the base.” [The Washington Times, 10/5/16]
The Federalist’s John Gibbs Claimed “More And More Cases Of Voter Fraud Are Beginning To Surface.” Federalist contributor John Gibbs warned of “more and more cases of voter fraud [that] are beginning to surface.” He argued that “it would be silly to assume cases that have been discovered are the only cases of fraud” and used a Pew research report that “one in eight voter registrations are ‘significantly inaccurate or no longer valid’” to estimate that there may be “a stunning 18 million invalid voter registrations on the books.” Gibbs emphasized that “numbers of this scale obviously provide ripe opportunity for fraud.” From the October 13 article:
Yet as the election approaches, more and more cases of voter fraud are beginning to surface. In Colorado, multiple instances were found of dead people attempting to vote. Stunningly, “a woman named Sara Sosa who died in 2009 cast ballots in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.” In Virginia, it was found that nearly 20 voter applications were turned in under the names of dead people.
In Texas, authorities are investigating criminals who are using the technique of “vote harvesting” to illegally procure votes for their candidates. “Harvesting” is the practice of illegally obtaining the signatures of valid voters in order to vote in their name without their consent for the candidate(s) the criminal supports.
These are just some instances of voter fraud we know about. It would be silly to assume cases that have been discovered are the only cases of fraud. Indeed according to a Pew Charitable Trust report from February 2012, one in eight voter registrations are “significantly inaccurate or no longer valid.” Since there are 146 million Americans registered to vote, this translates to a stunning 18 million invalid voter registrations on the books. Further, “More than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters, and approximately 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state.” Numbers of this scale obviously provide ripe opportunity for fraud. [The Federalist, 10/13/16]
CNN’s Kayleigh McEnany Claimed That “There Is Voter Fraud Out There.” CNN political commentator Kayleigh McEnany asserted that “there is voter fraud out there,” claiming, “There are as many as 4 million dead people registered to vote right now.” McEnany also suggested that “none of us know what is going to happen” on Election Day. From the October 19 edition of CNN’s Debate Night in America:
KAYLEIGH MCENANY: I’m truly perplexed to hear you talk because you're asking him to accept something that hasn't happened yet. None of us know what is going to happen on Tuesday, November 8th.
VAN JONES: We’re going to have election in our country. 240 years of this.
MCENANY: And in fact, I'm going to cite J. Christian Adams, who was a voting attorney, voters attorney for the Department of Justice, said that there are as many as four million dead people registered to vote right now. There is voting fraud out there. [CNN, Debate Night in America, 10/19/16]
CNN’s Scottie Nell Hughes Asserted That State Officials Were Lying About Low Instances Of Voter Fraud. CNN political commentator Scottie Nell Hughes suggested that Republican secretaries of state may have lied about the rarity of voter fraud because they are “establishment politicians” who “have not been for us since the very beginning.” From the October 19 edition of CNN’s At This Hour with Berman and Bolduan:
SCOTTIE NELL HUGHES: Here's what it comes down to, whether you like it or not. If you are a Democrat, you don't think there's any rigging going on because nine times out of 10, it benefits you. If you are Republican, you believe there's rigging going on, just like the Heritage Foundation has more than 400 cases within the last 10 years of voter fraud.
KATE BOLDUAN (CO-HOST): These are Republicans who are coming out to contradict Donald Trump.
HUGHES: They are secretary of states, establishment politicians. They have not been for us since the very beginning. We don't need them. We need the people. And those that are elected to the office that are paying attention to the people, they’re winning. They’re the ones that are actually going forward and moving forward with this. Secretaries of state, some are offended, some are not. Get over it. Just make sure your process is clean and we don't have voter intimidation, which is probably one of the largest cases that we’ve seen in the 2012 election. [CNN, At This Hour with Berman and Bolduan, 10/19/16]
CNN’s Jeffrey Lord Said That There Is “Evidence Of Voter Fraud In American History” Like “Forging Social Security Numbers, Using Dead People, Et Cetera, Et Cetera, Et Cetera.” CNN contributor Jeffrey Lord tried to legitimize Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud by asserting that “57,000 registrations … were rejected” in Philadelphia “for forging social security numbers, using dead people, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.” From the October 20 edition of CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360:
ANDERSON COOPER (HOST): But the question is, if Donald Trump loses big on election night, is he going to make the allegation that there was widespread voter fraud resulting in millions of votes?
JEFFREY LORD: We'll have to wait and see. It would help if there were fact, right? But, again, I have to disagree with my friend Phil here. In fact, there has been evidence of voter fraud in American history. Lots of times. I'm sorry, but lots of time. I documented myself 57,000 registrations that were rejected by the city of Philadelphia -- the county of Philadelphia in 2008 for forging social security numbers, using dead people, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. [CNN, Anderson Cooper 360, 10/20/16]
Fox News Panel Insisted That “Voter Fraud Isn’t Really A Myth” Because Dead People And “Illegal Aliens” Are Registered To Vote. Fox News’ Fox & Friends guest host Pete Hegseth defended Trump by asserting that “voter fraud isn’t really a myth” and invited Washington Times’ Kelly Riddell to highlight various alleged “active voter fraud investigations” across the country. Riddell claimed that there are “dead people voting” and “illegal aliens who are registered to vote.” Riddell also warned of “this thing called voter harvesting,” where she claims “fraudsters look at areas where their candidate needs to win, or is doing poorly, and so they target nursing homes, they target the elderly, they target African-American communities, Hispanic communities that don't speak English, a lot of underprivileged communities” to register voters. From the October 21 edition of Fox News’ Fox & Friends:
PETE HEGSETH (CO-HOST): Donald Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence, warning that voter fraud could disrupt the election. The Republican ticket now urging supporters to, well, be their eyes and ears on the ground. As it turns out, voter fraud, it isn't really a myth at all. So, here to walk us through some of the active voter fraud investigations is Washington [Times] Deputy Opinion Editor Kelly Riddell. Kelly, thanks for joining us this morning.
KELLY RIDDELL: Thanks, Pete.
HEGSETH: So, we're hearing a lot at the presidential level, rigged system, voter problems, and you've got examples state by state. Take Virginia, dead people voting. What have we seen in Virginia?
RIDDELL: This is just one town. Harrisonburg, [Virginia], found that 20 deceased people had somehow re-registered to vote this election cycle. The FBI is actually looking into this case, and this is just in one particular city. Also in Virginia, you have 1,046 people, and this was a study that it was just done this month, who are illegal aliens that registered to vote in the state. And that doesn't include -- the study doesn't include Fairfax County in Arlington, Virginia. Two of the most populous cities in Northern Virginia, really are what have turned Virginia blue in recent years.
HEGSETH: That's troubling. I only know of one person that has risen from the dead, so 20, that's a problem. Pennsylvania, what do we see there?
RIDDELL: In Pennsylvania, you see -- and the secretary of state last year basically said voter fraud is a problem here. And the fact that 700 Pennsylvania -- people registered in Pennsylvania voted twice. Up to 43,000 people are -- in Pennsylvania are registered to vote twice. So, I mean, that's a huge problem. In Philadelphia, you're also seeing illegal aliens on the voter rolls. Eighty-six were dredged up, and those were only because they self-reported. It's really an honor system here. So, when they went to renew their driver's license, somebody at the DMV was like, "Oh, are you legal, or illegal? Maybe you shouldn't be voting." So the cases are a lot more.
HEGSETH: Let me tell you what I am. Yes.
RIDDELL: Yeah, yeah. "Let me tell you, well, maybe I shouldn't be voting." So, there's a lot more. Yeah, tip of the iceberg.
HEGSETH: Yeah, that's the old “vote early, vote often” mantra. All right, Texas, mail-in ballots, things like that.
RIDDELL: Mail-in ballots. There's this thing called voter harvesting, which basically, these fraudsters look at areas where their candidate needs to win, or is doing poorly. And so they target nursing homes, they target the elderly, they target African-American communities, Hispanic communities that don't speak English, a lot of underprivileged communities. And what they do is, anyone can request a mail-in ballot, so they request mail-in ballots in these people's names, and then go door-to-door and ask them to sign the ballot. Sometimes they do it, saying, "You lean Democratic, you sign this." Sometimes they do it saying, "Hey, I'm just looking for a petition for the Boys and Girls Club, could you sign on the dotted line?" And then they mail in those votes. There's an active Texas investigation ongoing into this kind of case.
HEGSETH: I'd say that's as crooked and rigged as it gets.
HEGSETH: One more, Colorado. The left fights back against purging of voter rolls and against voter ID, but I felt that Colorado is such a powerful example of why you might need to do that.
RIDDELL: Well, I mean, Colorado, a recent CBS local affiliate turned up dead people on the voter rolls. And, you know what's so funny by Colorado? If you look at John Podesta's WikiLeak emails, as late as last year, 2015, he was complaining that he thought that Barack Obama rigged the Colorado primary in bringing illegal aliens on the voter rolls. It's unbelievable, the hypocrisy here. [Fox News, Fox & Friends, 10/21/16]
Fox’s Brit Hume: “Certainly” Instances Of “Voter Fraud” Like “Votes Allegedly Being Changed … Could Make A Difference” In Local, Congressional, And Statewide Elections. Fox News' Brit Hume, while hosting On The Record, talked about “the kind of voter fraud” in which “some numbers of voters [are] either voting illegally or votes [are] allegedly being changed,” and claimed that such fraud “could make a difference in a local election, particularly, possibly a congressional district election, maybe in a statewide election.” From the October 21 edition of Fox News’ On the Record with Brit Hume:
NINA EASTON: Is there voter fraud? Yeah. There’s instances of voter fraud. But, there isn't widespread rigged election type voter fraud that would swing an election, particularly a 4 or 5 or 6 percent --
BRIT HUME (HOST): You’re talking about a presidential election, right?
EASTON: Presidential, national presidential election --
HUME: Because certainly the kind of voter fraud that we hear about, with some numbers of voters either voting illegally, or votes allegedly being changed, or being bused in from out of state, sound like the kind of numbers that could make a difference in a local election, particularly, possibly a congressional district election, maybe in a statewide election. [Fox News, On the Record with Brit Hume, 10/21/16]
WSJ Op-Ed Claims “There Is A Real Chance That Significant Numbers Of Noncitizens And Others Are Indeed Voting Illegally.” Conservative writers Hans von Spakovsky and John Fund authored an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal claiming, “There is a real chance that significant numbers of noncitizens and others are indeed voting illegally, perhaps enough to make up the margin in some elections.” From the November 30 op-ed:
Widespread voter fraud, the media consensus suggests, isn’t possible. But there is a real chance that significant numbers of noncitizens and others are indeed voting illegally, perhaps enough to make up the margin in some elections.
How common is this? If only we knew. Political correctness has squelched probes of noncitizen voting, so most cases are discovered accidentally instead of through a systematic review of election records.
The bottom line is that the honor system doesn’t work. There are people—like those caught voting illegally—who are willing to exploit these weaknesses that damage election integrity. [The Wall Street Journal, 11/30/16]
This piece has been updated to include additional examples
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- Elections, Voting Rights & Issues, Government
- Fox News Channel, CNN, Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times, The Federalist, Arizona Republic, The New York Times, The Hill, Associated Press, NBC Washington, USA Today, New York Daily News
- Donald Trump, Sean Hannity, Kayleigh McEnany, Scottie Nell Hughes, Hans von Spakovsky, John Fund, Pete Hegseth, Kelly Riddell, Jeffrey Lord, Tammy Bruce, Brit Hume
- Hannity, Debate Night in America, At This Hour With Berman And Bolduan, FOX & Friends, Anderson Cooper 360, On The Record with Brit Hume