Most Common Vote Fraud Claims

Great analysis here from three political scientists:

ALLEGATIONS:

More votes than voters in MI Expert Witness: Ramsland USA Today
More votes than voters in PA PA State Rep. Frank Ryan AP News
More votes than voters nationally Trump tweet PolitiFact
Biden won record low number of counties Charlie Kirk tweet USA Today
Unexplained vote bumps in MI, WI, GA Nick Adams tweet Reuters
Felons, minors, deceased voted Trump tweet Sterling (GA)
Residents who moved out voted Navarro Report FactCheck.org
Pro-Biden split ticket in swing states Epoch Times 538
1/1015 chance of Biden victory Supreme Court case PolitiFact
Trump won more bellwether counties Tweet USA Today
Trump won more bellwether states Tweet USA Today
Lower rejection rate of absentee ballots Trump tweet Sterling (GA)
Missing absentee ballots Expert Witness: Miller Expert Report: King
Dominion machine manipulation Trump tweet Sterling (GA)

USA TODAY Dec. 31, 2020: The claim: Voter turnout in 4 Michigan townships exceeded number of voters by 290,000

The claim that Michigan’s Zeeland Charter Township had voter turnout that exceeded 100% is false. The affidavit falsely claims turnout there was 460.51%, however, data from Ottawa County shows that Zeeland Charter Township’s four precincts had turnout rates of 74.46%, 80.35%, 80.84% and 84.80%.

Spring Lake Township in Ottawa County, which is claimed in the affidavit to have 120% turnout, has six precincts that had turnout rates of 72.65%, 82.18%, 77.03%, 81.91%, 84.15% and 66.74%.

The chart included in the affidavit also falsely claims that Grout Township had a voter turnout rate of 215.21%. But Grout Township had a turnout of 67.23%, according to election data from Gladwin County. The higher rate did initially match data in the county’s statement of votes cast due to an error, the Detroit Free Press reported.

“We have to hand punch in the total number of registered voters, and they put in the wrong number of registered voters,” Gladwin County Clerk Laura Brandon-Maveal told the Free Press. A corrected report was released by the county on Dec. 3.

In Summit Township, a software settings error caused three precincts to show more than 100% voter turnout for the general election, according to Michigan Live. However, the voter turnout totals were fixed, and 71% of 18,365 registered voters cast ballots there.

Claims in the affidavit that voter turnout was at 100% in Greenwood, Hart, Leavitt, Newfield, Otto, Pentwater, Shelby and Weare townships are also false.

The Free Press reported that Greenwood had 65.50% voter turnout; Hart had 65.69%; Leavitt had 57.78%; Newfield had 62.30%; Otto had 65.99%; Pentwater had 82.13%; Shelby had 37.85% and Weare had 68.20%.

Voter turnout in Grand Island Township was accurately claimed in the affidavit as 96.77%. However, voter turnout in Tallmadge Charter Township was 78.89%, not 95.24%, and Fenton Township turnout was 81.56%, not 93.33%.

USA TODAY Nov. 8, 2020: Fact check: States don’t have more than 100% voter turnout in an election

Updated data and individual state reporting show no state had more than 100% voter turnout for the 2020 election. The implication that Democrats doctored election results to show higher turnout than possible is based off outdated data that has since been updated. We rate the claim that several swing-states received more votes than they had registered voters FALSE.

REUTERS Nov. 10, 2020: Fact check: Vote spikes in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania do not prove election fraud

Social media users have been sharing posts claiming that during the night of Nov. 3 to Nov. 4 there were vote dumps of hundreds of thousands of mail-in ballots only for Democrat Joe Biden in Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania, suggesting this proves voter fraud allegations. These vote spikes did occur, but they also included Trump votes, accounted for largely left-leaning urban counties, and one state experienced a clerical error.

A spokesman for data analysis website FiveThirtyEight ( fivethirtyeight.com/ ) told Reuters via email that the jumps in Michigan and Wisconsin were due to counties releasing large batches of results all at once and that the votes were not just for Biden. One large jump of almost 140,000 ballots in Michigan was due to a clerical error that has since been resolved. In Pennsylvania both the Trump and Biden campaign gained around 1 million votes on the night of Nov. 3 to Nov. 4.

REUTERS Nov. 5, 2020: Fact check: Biden vote spikes and county recount do not prove Democrats are trying to steal the election in Michigan and Wisconsin

Social media users are sharing an article which cites examples of two large spikes in Biden votes, a county recount and late mail-in voting to prove that Democrats are trying to steal the election in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. Although the details surrounding the Pennsylvania mail-in vote example are correct, the other claims are presented inaccurately: the spikes were due to an administrative error and a dump of votes favouring Biden respectively, and the recount was due to a mismatch in vote totals, rather than political factors.

The article by The Federalist (here) has been shared thousands of times on Facebook.

FiveThirtyEight told Reuters that it is not true that Biden received all the votes in the overnight dump: “these batches were NOT 100% Biden votes; behind the blue line, there is also a red line representing the thousands of votes Trump gained. There are also counter examples, where Trump’s line shoots up suddenly when a favorable batch of results are reported.”

It is true that mail-in ballots will be counted in Pennsylvania up to three days after Election Day, provided they were posted by Election Day, including if they have no postmark. However, large spikes in Biden votes were due to an administrative error in Michigan and the inputting of Milwaukee absentee results in Wisconsin. The Antrim County recount was called because vote totals did not match.

AP Dec. 29, 2020: There were not more votes than voters in Pennsylvania

CLAIM: There were 205,000 more votes than voters in the 2020 election in Pennsylvania.

AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. This analysis is based on incomplete data, according to the Pennsylvania Department of State.

THE FACTS: A misleading claim about election results from a group of Republican state lawmakers in Pennsylvania is circulating widely on social media a week before Congress meets to reaffirm Joe Biden’s decisive presidential win.

The claim emerged in a release from the Republican state Rep. Frank Ryan and several others on Monday.

“A comparison of official county election results to the total number of voters who voted on Nov. 3, 2020, as recorded by the Department of State shows that 6,962,607 total ballots were reported as being cast, while DoS/SURE system records indicate that only 6,760,230 total voters actually voted,” the release said.

The claim then spread to several right-wing websites and social media influencers, including Trump, whose tweet claiming Pennsylvania had 205,000 more votes than voters was retweeted 117,000 times.

However, these claims rely on incomplete data, according to Wanda Murren, communications director for the Pennsylvania Department of State, who called the lawmakers’ release “obvious misinformation.”

It was not immediately clear where the numbers cited in the release originated and Ryan did not respond to a call seeking comment on Tuesday. However, the apparent reference to SURE (Statewide Uniform Registry of Electors) in Pennsylvania points to state data on the voting history of registered voters, which some large counties have not finished uploading yet.

“These counties, which include Philadelphia, Allegheny, Butler and Cambria, would account for a significant number of voters,” Murren told The Associated Press in an emailed statement. “The numbers certified by the counties, not the uploading of voter histories into the SURE system, determines the ultimate certification of an election by the secretary.”

The numbers certified by Pennsylvania counties in November show that more than 6.9 million voters cast ballots in the 2020 election, electing Biden the winner by more than 80,000 votes.

Social media users in recent weeks have also made similar claims that there were more votes counted than registered voters in battleground states and key cities.

Those claims are easily debunked. In Pennsylvania, for example, there were nearly 7 million votes cast. The total number of registered voters in 2020 was just over 9 million.

From Factcheck.org, Oct. 16, 2016: Trump’s Bogus Voter Fraud Claims

Donald Trump is citing unsubstantiated urban myths and a contested academic study to paint a false narrative about rampant voter fraud in the U.S. and the likelihood of a “rigged” election.

Trump claimed “people that have died 10 years ago are still voting,” citing a report that found 1.8 million deceased people remain on voter registration rolls. But the report did not find evidence of wrongdoing, and numerous studies have found such voter fraud is virtually nonexistent.
Trump claimed there is a massive problem with “illegal immigrants [who] are voting,” citing research by Old Dominion professors who say noncitizen voters may have benefited Democrats in 2008. But a Harvard professor who manages the data used in the Old Dominion study said the data was misused and the study’s conclusions are wrong.
Finally, Trump broadly claimed that “voter fraud is very, very common,” and he has called for poll watchers to look for people impersonating voters or voting numerous times. However, numerous academic studies and government inquiries have found in-person voter fraud to be rare.
For weeks, Trump has been warning about rigged elections. He urged his supporters in Ambridge, Pennsylvania, on Oct. 10 to monitor polls and “watch other communities, because we don’t want this election stolen from us.”

In a speech in Wisconsin on Oct. 17, Trump provided some detail and purported evidence to back up his claims about the prevalence of voter fraud, particularly by noncitizens and people casting ballots on behalf of deceased voters. But we found that his evidence is lacking.

One of Trump’s principle claims of voter fraud is that “dead people” are voting in large numbers.

“People that have died 10 years ago are still voting,” Trump said in his Wisconsin speech.

Later, Trump cited a Pew Charitable Trust report as evidence of “dead people” voting in large numbers. But that’s not what the report says.

“The following information comes straight from Pew Research, quote, ‘Approximately 24 million people — one out of every eight — voter registrations in the United States are no longer valid or significantly inaccurate.’ One in eight,” Trump said. “More than 1.8 million deceased individuals, right now, are listed as voters.’ Oh, that’s wonderful.”

“Well, if they’re gonna vote for me, we’ll think about it, right?” Trump joked. “But I have a feeling they’re not gonna vote for me. Of the 1.8 million, 1.8 million is voting for someone else.”

Trump accurately quoted from the report, “Inaccurate, Costly and Inefficient: Evidence That America’s Voter Registration System Needs and Upgrade.” But the report did not allege the 1.8 million deceased people actually voted. Rather, Pew said that it is evidence of the need to upgrade voter registration systems.

In fact, researchers say voter fraud involving ballots cast on behalf of deceased voters is rare.

“This issue of dead people voting is just not substantiated,” said Lorraine Minnite, a professor at Rutgers University and author of “The Myth of Voter Fraud.”

The Help America Vote Act of 2002 encouraged states to improve the accuracy of their registration lists and to audit their election results. As a result, Minnite told us in a phone interview, a number of states compared their voter lists to the Social Security Death Index, and in some cases they turned up hundreds or even thousands of apparent instances of “dead people” voting.

But with a bit of digging, almost all of those turned out to be due to clerical errors or as a result of people who legally voted via absentee ballots or the early voting process but later died before Election Day, Minnite said.

For example, in 2012 South Carolina’s attorney general notified the U.S. Department of Justice of potential voter fraud after finding 953 ballots cast in the 2010 election by voters listed as deceased, in some cases as long as six years. The finding ran in the Augusta Chronicle at the time in an Associated Press story under a headline, “South Carolina attorney general informs Justice Department of voter fraud.”

But a subsequent review by the State Election Commission found no evidence of fraud and that mostly the cases were clerical errors.

In a letter to the attorney general, the executive director of the State Election Commission wrote that it only had the resources to investigate 207 cases from the most recent 2010 election. Of those cases, it found 106 cases were the result of clerical errors by poll managers; 56 cases were the result of bad data matching, meaning that the person in question was not actually dead; 32 cases were “voter participation errors,” including stray marks on lists erroneously indicting they had voted; three cases were absentee ballots issued to registered voters who cast ballots and later died before Election Day; and 10 cases contained “insufficient information in the record to make a determination.”

Cases of people actually voting fraudulently on behalf of deceased people are rare — though isolated examples have occurred, Minnite said.

“There are a handful of known cases in which documentation shows that votes have been cast in the names of voters who have died before the vote was submitted,” wrote Justin Levitt in a 2007 report, “The Truth About Voter Fraud,” for the Brennan Center for Justice. “It is far more common, however, to see unfounded allegations of epidemic voting from beyond the grave.”

Much of the misinformation about “dead people voting” is due to “flawed matches from one place (death records) to another (voter rolls),” Levitt found. Levitt explored five reports of widespread fraud regarding “dead voters” and found all of them were unfounded or greatly exaggerated.

Allegations of “busloads” of people going from polling place to polling place — such as Giuliani described — is a common urban myth, Minnite said. She has heard tales of busloads of college students coming into New Hampshire to vote, and about busloads of Mexicans from Oklahoma voting in Kansas. And in every case — including Giuliani’s, she said — there is no evidence for them.

“These sort of fictions about busloads of people, you hear about it a lot on the right,” Minnite said. “It is just very unlikely. Think about how and why it would happen. It makes no sense.”

You’d have to know the person you were impersonating hadn’t voted yet, and that the person at the poll doesn’t know that person, she said. And in a busload of people, you’d have to count on every one of them keeping quiet.

“And for what? What is the benefit of it?” Minnite said. There is very little payoff with the potential for a felony conviction. And in the case of immigrants in the country illegally, the risk of permanent deportation.”

A December 2006 report by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission interviewed more than two dozen researchers and experts on voter fraud and intimidation, including Minnite. That report concluded that “impersonation of voters is probably the least frequent type of fraud because it is the most likely type of fraud to be discovered, there are stiff penalties associated with this type of fraud, and it is an inefficient method of influencing an election.”

In an Aug. 16, 2014, article for the Washington Post, Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt, currently on leave to work with the Department of Justice overseeing voting, wrote that he has been tracking allegations of voter fraud for years, including any “credible allegation that someone may have pretended to be someone else at the polls, in any way that an ID law could fix.”

“So far,” he wrote, “I’ve found about 31 different incidents (some of which involve multiple ballots) since 2000, anywhere in the country. … To put this in perspective, the 31 incidents below come in the context of general, primary, special, and municipal elections from 2000 through 2014. In general and primary elections alone, more than 1 billion ballots were cast in that period.”

In 2012, a team of students led by the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University analyzed 2,068 alleged election-fraud cases since 2000 and concluded that “while fraud has occurred, the rate is infinitesimal, and in-person voter impersonation on Election Day, which prompted 37 state legislatures to enact or consider tough voter ID laws, is virtually non-existent.”

In October 2002, the Justice Department in the George W. Bush administration introduced the Ballot Access and Voting Integrity Initiative, which was charged, in part, with targeting voter fraud. But as Washington Post columnist Harold Meyerson pointed out in 2007, the efforts between October 2002 and September 2005 resulted in “just 38 cases [being] brought nationally, and of those, 14 ended in dismissals or acquittals, 11 in guilty pleas, and 13 in convictions.”

Wrote Meyerson: “Though a Justice Department manual on election crime states that these cases ‘may present an easier means of obtaining convictions than do other forms of public corruption,’ federal attorneys have failed to rack up those convictions, for the simple reason that incidents of fraud have been few and far between.”

About Luke Ford

I've written five books (see Amazon.com). My work has been followed by the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and 60 Minutes. I teach Alexander Technique in Beverly Hills (Alexander90210.com).
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