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The Fraudulent Claim of Massive Voter Fraud

Submitted by Robin Messing on Mon, 10/22/2018 - 3:49am

Ever since the election in which he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by 3 million votes, Donald Trump and the Republicans have been screaming, "Voter Fraud! Voter Fraud! Voter Fraud!" Again and again Donald Trump has claimed that he would have won the election had millions of illegal votes not been cast for Hillary.  Trump's being a sore winner would be comical except for the fact that Republicans have used his allegations of voter fraud to justify various schemes to suppress the vote. But the basic assumption that there is widespread voter fraud is a pure, unadulterated lie. Here are some articles that discuss this lie in more detail.

  1. Republicans and Democrats Agree There is No Widespread Voter Fraud,  Campaign Legal Center, Corey Goldstone, 1/25/17
  2. No proof of Trump's conspiracy theory that millions voted many times, Amy Sherman, Politifact, 4/6/18
  3. All This Talk of Voter Fraud? Across U.S., Officials Found Next to None, Michael Wines, New York Times, 12/18/16
  4. Top ACLU Voting Rights Lawyer Rips Into Trump Expert’s Evidence Of Kansas Voter Fraud, Sam Levine, Huffington Post, 3/9/18
  5. The Actually True and Provable Facts About Non-Citizen Voting, Wendy Weiser and Douglas Keith, Time, 2/13/17

Though voter fraud is very rare, it would be wrong to claim it is non-existent.   Terry Lynn Rote pleaded guilty to voting for Donald Trump twice. David Learner, a Republican District Attorney from North Carolina, decided not to prosecute a Trump voter who cast a vote for her mother who had recently died because, he said, she had cast her vote "out of sheer ignorance" of the law while "grieving the loss of her mother".  I wonder if he would have given her the same break had she voted for a Democrat or had she been an illegal alien who didn't understand the law.  Though he technically didn't cast an illegal vote, Brandon Hall was convicted of 10 counts of election fraud in 2016. The Republican party punished him by giving him VIP access to a Trump rally in 2018. I am not claiming that all those or even most of those who commit election fraud  or voter fraud are Republican. But to the small extent that voter fraud does occur, it is a mistake to assume that most of those who commit voter fraud are voting for Democrats. 

Update 11/13/2018: Republican Rick Scott's and Ron DeSantis's margin of votes over Bill Nelson and Andrew Gillum for Florida's Senate and Governor's seats have narrowed as votes have continued to be counted after election day. Many of these votes are coming by mail from members of the military stationed overseas. Yet, for some reason, as the Republican margin of victory shrinks, the President has become more and more panicked and is demanding that their votes not be counted.



And Don Jr tweeted a link to an article claiming that nearly 200,000 Florida voters may not be citizens.



There are a few problems with this tweet. First, it is from a 2012 article, so its applicability to this year's election is questionable. Second, the original article claimed that there may have been nearly 182,000 ineligible voters in that election--That's very high, but not as dramatic as saying nearly 200,000. But most importantly, there is an editor's note at the top of the article that says


Editor’s note on Nov. 12, 2018: This story was published in May 2012.

The initial list of 180,000 names was whittled to 2,625, according to the Florida Department of State. The state then checked a federal database and stated it found 207 noncitizens on the rolls (not necessarily voting but on the rolls). That list was sent to county election supervisors to check and it also turned out to contain errors. An Aug. 1, 2012, state elections document showed only 85 noncitizens were ultimately removed from the rolls out of a total of about 12 million voters at that time.


A Huffington Post article notes that many on Twitter are calling out Don Jr. for not reading the editor's note at the top of the article before tweeting the article to bolster his claim of voter fraud. However, Jr. should probably not be called out for this failure to read the note. The editor posted the update to this six year old article on the same day that Jr. tweeted it out. Why would the editor feel the need to suddenly post this update to a long forgotten story six years after it was published? It seems likely he posted the update in response to the tweet by Jr. which brought many new eyeballs to the article. Therefore, Jr. should not be criticized for failing to read a note that almost certainly didn't exist at the time he read the article. However, now that he has received criticism for tweeting out a bogus claim of voter fraud based on an out-of-date article, he deserves all the criticism in the world if he does not post another tweet correcting the record by the end of today.