How Likely is Voter Fraud?

Trump continues spewing claims of massive voter fraud without evidence. Let’s break down the facts.

What Happened:

With the 2020 election less than three months away, the Trump administration is actively trying to stir up fear of voter fraud and rigged elections. Instead of blaming illegal immigrants this time around, Trump has now targeted mail-in voting efforts. 

In addition to his lies and baseless claims, Trump has threatened to sue Nevada for its decision to send mail-in ballots to registered voters. His actions have also prompted seven states to consider lawsuits against the White House and a court order from a Pennsylvania judge that the Trump campaign produce evidence of voter fraud by Friday, August 21st. 

Why it Matters:

Research on Voter Fraud is Clear

Legal scholars from both parties, nonpartisan experts, and government investigations acknowledge that there is no widespread fraud in U.S. elections. There were just four documented cases of voter fraud in the 2016 election and only 0.02% of votes qualified as double-voting in the 2012 election.

Let’s also not forget that Trump’s Presidential Commission on Election Integrity, led by Mike Pence and Kris Kobach, failed to prove a single case of voter fraud before being shut down. 

Public Health Concerns

The option for mail-in voting is necessary for at-risk people to cast their ballot safely during the COVID-19 pandemic. Caseloads are expected to rise in the fall and winter, so it’s important to make voting by mail more accessible.

Mail-in Voting Challenges

Recent primary elections have demonstrated issues implementing universal mail-in voting. In Maryland, where all registered voters were supposed to automatically receive ballots, approximately 160,000 ballots were not delivered in time for their June primary. Similar incidents in Georgia and Wisconsin indicate the need to invest and improve these systems before November for a free and fair election. 

What about Paterson, New Jersey? 

An incident of voter fraud in a special election for city council seats in Paterson, New Jersey has been touted by Trump as a case against mail-in voting. More than 3,000 ballots were rejected, and four people, including city council members, were charged with voter fraud and additional crimes. 

Fraudulent ballots were detected when election officials checked voter signature records and through other safeguards, emphasizing the difficulty of carrying out large-scale voter fraud by mail.