The media and Democrats have scoffed at President Trump’s claims that the 2016 election was rife with election fraud. Time and time again, they’ve dismissed the notion that there was anything even resembling the slightest bit of impropriety within the system.
In the subsequent months, those who have been less eager to dismiss such ideas have begun to shine a light on the issue. It turns out that while Trump’s claims aren’t proportionately accurate, there does appear to be some significant issues when it comes to voter fraud.
Let’s begin with some of the most obvious cases, like that of Rosa Maria Ortega. She was sentenced to eight years in prison for voter fraud in Texas. She allegedly improperly cast a ballot five times between 2005 and 2014. Ortega claims that she believed she was eligible to vote despite the fact that she was not a citizen of the U.S. She came to the country as a baby and has been a permanent resident — important facts that were either obscured by Ortega or overlooked for many years by election officials.
Then there’s the case of Dewey George Gidcumb of Haywood County, North Carolina. Gidcumb was found guilty of felony voter fraud after it was discovered that he had voted twice during the Republican primary election last year. Gidcumb voted once during an early voting opportunity and then again on the day of the primary election. He claims he thought he was voting in two different elections. Gidcumb recived a suspended prison sentence of 5 to 15 months, 12 months of supervised probation, 24 hours of community service, and a one hundred dollar fine, plus court costs.
In Moore County, North Carolina, three people have been indicted on charges of felony voter registration fraud. Three men — Dalton Shane Smith, Edward Charles Green, and Ryan Wiggs — were all on probation for felony offenses when they cast their ballots in the 2016 Presidential election.
Additionally, in Tennessee, elections officials have listed 42 voter fraud cases that could’ve occurred during the 2016 election. Of those, only one had resulted in a conviction.
These are just the cases that have surfaced in recent weeks that have resulted in charges or convictions. These instances don’t account for the flaws in the election system that leave it susceptible to fraud and manipulation. Take California, for example. In that state, it’s fairly easy for a non-citizen to obtain a driver’s license, and with the passage of so-called “motor voter” laws, individuals are also able to register to vote when obtaining a driver’s license. The problem becomes that there is no independent verification of citizenship when registering to vote. This would make the system fairly easy to exploit, according to experts.
Hans A. von Spakovsky is the Election Law Reform Initiative and Senior Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation and co-author of the book Who’s Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk. He writes in a piece titled “The War on Election Integrity” that:
The real problem we face in the upcoming election is from inaccurate voter rolls full of ineligible voters, from the dead to noncitizens to felons. Lax registration procedures and poorly maintained rolls can and do facilitate fraud.
This sentiment is supported by the work Jesse T. Richman and Gulshan A. Chattha of Old Dominion University and David C. Earnest of George Mason University. These scholars published an article titled “Do non-citizens vote in U.S. elections?” in the journal Electoral Studies. Their analysis provided several conclusions:
- Some non-citizens cast votes in U.S. elections despite legal bans.
- Non-citizens favor Democratic candidates over Republican candidates.
- Non-citizen voting likely changed 2008 outcomes including Electoral College votes and the composition of Congress.
Some, including those in the Trump administration, have attempted to use this study to support the claim that non-citizen votes would have changed the popular vote differential in the 2016 election. Richman has been quick to dismiss such claims. But he doesn’t dismiss the core findings of his work, which are that non-citizen voting is real problem for our system.
These findings are reinforced by a report from Pew titled “Inaccurate, Costly, and Inefficient: Evidence That America’s Voter Registration System Needs an Upgrade” [PDF]. This report came to several conclusions:
- Approximately 24 million—one of every eight—voter registrations in the United States are no longer valid or
are significantly inaccurate.
- More than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters.
- Approximately 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state.
Does any of this support the notion that millions of fraudulent ballots were cast in 2016? Of course not, but this research, along with anecdotal reports of individuals casting ballots because of weaknesses in the system, should give everyone a reason to be concerned. But Democrats and the media are quick to dismiss voter fraud claims altogether, acting as if such ideas are too preposterous to even entertain. To them, this research is the stuff of crackpot conspiracy theorists.
But what about here in Illinois? Well, recent analysis by Local Government Information Services (an organization co-founded by Dan Proft), duplicate voter registration is a big problem in Illinois:
The data, which was pulled from the the Illinois State Board of Elections voter registration file, shows that there were 49,772 records which showed voters with the same first name, middle name, last name and birth date, and registrations at two different addresses or multiple registrations at the same address, with two unique state-issued voter identification numbers.
The total represents 24,843 unique voters, one person registered four times, 84 people registered three times and 24,758 registered two times.
Of 136 votes cast by those recorded by ISBE as voting twice in the 2014 general election, 61 were cast in Cook County. In Will County, eight votes were duplicates, documents show. DuPage County had seven; Winnebago County, six; McHenry County, four; and St. Clair County, three.
In select cases, both votes were cast within the same county, while in other instances voters cast their votes in two different counties. All used unique, state-issued voter identification numbers.
Five votes cast in Kankakee County in the 2014 general election were duplicates, the records show, which may not come as a surprise to some. In fact, last October, just prior to the presidential election, the integrity of the Kankakee County voting system was questioned after reports of voter fraud surfaced.
So the next time that you hear a Democrat or media pundit dismiss claims about voter fraud, remember that the only reason that they aren’t finding evidence of such problems is because they aren’t really looking that hard.