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Law and Politics

Is Voter Fraud Real?

Breaking down myths and conspiracy theories

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WHAT IT IS

  • Voter fraud is illegal interference with the process of an election.

  • Voter fraud can help or hinder candidates by providing more or fewer illegal votes for the individual. 

  • There is no data to prove, nor evidence of, widespread voter fraud in the United States. [ProPublica]

  • 2017: The Brennan Center for Justice said in 2017 the risk of voting fraud is 0.00004% to 0.0009%. [Associated Press]

Voter fraud can be: 

  • Bribery
  • Illegal voter registration
  • Tampering with voting machines or ballot boxes
  • Voter impersonation
  • Voting more than once
  • Vote-buying
  • False advertising about the election date or how to vote

[USA.gov]

WHY IT MATTERS

 

CIVICS: If present, voter fraud undermines American democracy.

 

U.S. election laws date back to Article 1 of the U.S. Constitution. This allows states to oversee federal elections. Many Constitutional amendments and federal laws to protect voting rights have been passed since then, including criminalizing forms of voter fraud. [USA.gov]

 

SOCIAL: Many believe the voter fraud myth is used to scare voters and undermine trust in our democratic process. Those who believe the false claim of voter fraud are now questioning if we should change our voting system.

NO FRAUD

Disproven

There is no data to prove, or evidence of, widespread voter fraud. [ProPublica]

  • The Election Integrity Commission found no evidence of widespread voter fraud. [U.S. News and World Report]
  • Claims of voter fraud have since been disproven multiple times for his false statements about voter fraud. [PBS], [The Washington Post]
  • Instances of voter fraud are factually extremely low and do not affect elections. [PBS]
  • Read more research from the Brennan Center for Justice, debunking the voter fraud claim.

Discouraging

Some believe the commissions and new laws will discourage people from voting. [NPR]

 

 

Invasion of privacy

Some believe the commission was unconstitutional by demanding private information of the 200 million registered voters in the U.S. [Slate]

BUT, REFORM 

Flaws in the system

Widespread voter fraud has been debunked several times by independent research.

[ProPublica]

 

Voter fraud is not present in the U.S., but some believe the voting system still has its flaws.

 

Some believed the Election Integrity Commission to be a step toward correcting those flaws. [The Los Angeles Times]

 

 

One is enough

Supports of reform argue that any amount of voter fraud is grounds for new rules and restrictions. [NBC News]

 

 

Fact gathering

Some believe the Election Integrity Commission was simply on a fact-finding mission and was not trying to access data that is not already available through public records. 

WHERE WE ARE NOW

  • President Trump has claimed, "the same person votes many times" [NPR], that the voting system "is rigged" [The New York Times], and that voter fraud is the reason he lost the popular vote. [New York University School of Law]

  • President Trump set up an Election Integrity Commission that requested all 50 states and D.C. to submit information on everyone who voted in elections from 2006 onward. [The Washington Post]

  • Information requested was voter name, address, date of birth, party affiliation, last four digits of social security numbers, and voter history. [The Washington Post]
  • The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) sued the commission, citing their belief that the request breaks federal laws. [Reuters]
  • The Election Integrity Commission has found no evidence of widespread voter fraud. [U.S. News]
  • The commission has since shut down due to legal challenges. [NPR]

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT

  • Why does voter fraud undermine democracy?
  • Read a report from ProPublica on how President Trump is misrepresenting data to support his fraud claims.
  • Read "Debunking the Voter Fraud Myth" or "10 Voter Fraud Lies Debunked" from the Brennan Center for Justice.
  • Read the full list of states that either refused or complied with the request for voter data. [PBS]
  • 2018 midterms: North Carolina's House of Representatives election was plagued with "fraudulent activities" by Republican Mark Harris. He used a variety of illegal voter fraud tactics to win the election. [NPR]
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