Following numerous claims by members of the Republican Party, including the including the President of the United States, that the election system is “rigged”, there have been numerous studies released following the election cycle that have debunked those claims.
One of the most notable instances of voter fraud accusations include President Trump accusing residents from Massachusetts traveling over to New Hampshire and voting a second time in the Presidential election (and New Hampshire Senatorial election). However, a new study done by the Brennan Center for Justice and the Washington Post, concluded that there was no credible evidence for those claims.
The two studies reported both on the claim that President Trump made about New Hampshire (the Washington Post’s study), although the study produced by the Brennan Center for Justice focused on nation wide voter fraud allegations.
According to the political website, Ballotpedia, there are numerous types of voter fraud and severity that go along with each instance. The types of voter fraud include, 1) Double Voting (aka Ballot Stuffing), 2) Dead Voters, 3) Felons Voting, 4) Voter Suppression and 5) Registration Fraud. These are the five most common instances of voters breaking the law.
The Washington Post published their study after the November 2016 in December and reported that there were only four confirmed cases of voter fraud during the Presidential election. 1) A woman in Iowa who voted twice, 2) A man in Texas voted twice, 3) A woman in Illinois voted on behalf of her dead husband, and 4) A woman illegally filled out absentee ballots in Florida.
There are more possible cases of voter fraud but these are the confirmed cases, other allegations are being looked into. Their additional research done concerning elections from 2000 to 2014, found that there were only 31 cases of voter fraud out of 1 billion votes passed.
A second report published by the Brennan Center for Justice, found that Wisconsin had the most allegations of voter fraud in 2004. During the 2004 Presidential election, 12 people were caught for voter fraud out of 14 cases.
In New York, during 2002 and 2004, between 400 and 1,000 voters were alleged to have voted once in New York and once in Florida.
Besides those instances, another notable charge of voter fraud accusations came from President Trump when he said Kelley Ayotte of New Hampshire lost her Senate seat in the 2016 election as a result of fraud. Ayotte lost a close race against Democrat Maggie Hassan, 48.0 percent to Ayotte’s 47.8 percent.
The accusations come from President Trump saying, that he lost the Granite State because thousands of Massachusetts residents crossed the border into New Hampshire and voted. Hillary Clinton won the Granite State 46.98 percent to President Trump’s 46.61 percent. The Granite state’s results were one of the closest in the 2016 Presidential election.
In reality, there has been no credible evidence of voter fraud in the New Hampshire elections and Ayotte’s aides have not backed Trump’s claims. Numerous news outlets have produced articles debunking the claim. The allegations essentially accuse thousands of people being bused in from Massachusetts and voting illegally.
“There is absolutely no evidence whatsoever of major voter fraud in New Hampshire’s elections,” New Hampshire state Democratic Senator Jeanne Shaheen said.
“This would be a criminal conspiracy involving thousands of people,” Federal election commissioner, Ellen L. Weintraub pointed out.
In conclusion, if voter fraud is a big problem that affects national and statewide elections, it should be given the proper attention and investigation that it deserves, but if one party claims fraud for political purposes it should be denounced as it lessens the argument for when real voter fraud occurs and affects elections.
Links to sources
- Brennan Center for Justice Link: http://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/debunking-voter-fraud-myth
- New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/13/us/voter-fraud-new-hampshire-gop.html?_r=0
- Boston Globe: https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2017/02/10/trump-makes-groundless-voter-fraud-claims/fcnMJfLgOx0UAVhJeTS8TP/story.html
- Ballotpedia New Hampshire Race info: https://ballotpedia.org/New_Hampshire_State_Senate_elections,_2016