Ignoring History, Fox's Hannity Claims Voter Fraud in Philly Precincts Where No One Voted For Romney

Seizing on a newspaper report, Fox News host Sean Hannity claimed voter fraud was to blame for Mitt Romney failing to get a single vote in 59 voting divisions in Philadelphia. But anecdotal and historical evidence showed that these totals were not only possible but highly likely.

Repeating a Philadelphia Inquirer article, Hannity said on his syndicated radio show it's “mathematically impossible” that no one voted for Romney in these districts and that, if true, “that means we've got cheating going on in our elections.”  American Center for Law and Justice chief counsel Jay Sekulow agreed with Hannity.

Hannity added to these claims on his Fox News show, claiming there was “speculation about voter fraud” and asking, “Is it possible the Governor Romney didn't appeal to a single voter -- not one -- in these places?” Democratic strategist Mo Elleithee explained to Hannity that Romney, George W. Bush, and John Kerry all had won precincts where their opponents won zero votes. Nevertheless, Hannity insisted that the possibility of this happening is “zero,” adding, “I don't believe it. I think this is voter fraud.”

In fact, the Inquirer article referenced by Hannity went on to detail how the most likely explanation for  the 59 divisions that voted overwhelmingly for Obama was political uniformity rather than voter fraud. The article used demographic, historical, and investigative evidence to explain what may have happened in this overwhelmingly Democratic area, focusing on one particular precinct, the 3rd division of the 28th Ward:

  • About 94 percent of the 633 people who live in that division are black. Seven white residents were counted in the 2010 census.
  • In the entire 28th Ward, Romney received only 34 votes to Obama's 5,920.
  • Although voter registration lists, which often contain outdated information, show 12 Republicans live in the ward's 3rd division, The Inquirer was unable to find any of them by calling or visiting their homes.
  • Four of the registered Republicans no longer lived there; four others didn't answer their doors. City Board of Elections registration data say a registered Republican used to live at 25th and York Streets, but none of the neighbors across the street Friday knew him.
  • The ward's 15th division, which also cast no votes for Romney, also cast no votes for McCain in 2008. Thirteen other Philadelphia precincts also cast no votes for the Republican in both 2008 and 2012.
  • Nationally, 93 percent of African-Americans voted for Obama, according to exit polls, so it's not surprising that the president did even better than that in some areas.

Finally, the article commented that “in 2008, McCain got zero votes in 57 Philadelphia voting divisions.” Thus, it is not surprising that Romney saw a similar result.