We heard a lot of talk about voter fraud during the 2016 presidential election and more after Donald Trump was elected. When Democrats bragged about Hillary Clinton winning the “popular vote,” Trump claimed that he would have won both the electoral vote and the popular vote if “millions” of illegals had not voted for Clinton.
Liberal claim that voter fraud does not exist. The liberal Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law claims that voter fraud is a myth.
It is important to protect the integrity of our elections. But we must be careful not to undermine free and fair access to the ballot in the name of preventing voter fraud.
President Donald Trump has repeatedly, and falsely, claimed millions voted illegally. Yet examination after examination of voter fraud claims reveal fraud is very rare, voter impersonation is nearly non-existent, and much of the problems associated with alleged fraud relates to unintentional mistakes by voters or election administrators. Election officials and leaders of the president’s own party also agree fraud is not widespread.
Yet, Jason Snead at The Daily Signal disagrees. The Heritage Foundation has a database of cases where people were convicted of voter fraud, and Snead writes about this database.
Time and again, studies and analyses point to one incontrovertible conclusion: that voter fraud is a real and pressing issue that deserves serious solutions, and The Heritage Foundation has the evidence to prove it.
On Thursday, The Heritage Foundation is releasing a new edition of its voter fraud database. Featuring well over 100 new cases, the database documents 1,071 instances of voter fraud spanning 47 states, including 938 criminal convictions.
This revamped edition of the database separates cases by type of disposition, allowing readers to easily distinguish not only what type of fraud occurred but the outcome of the case – criminal convictions, pre-trial diversion programs, and other types of adjudication used in various states and counties across the United States.
Snead continues his article by sharing three examples. In Virginia, a university student pleaded guilty to submitting 18 voter registration forms during the summer of 2016. He was working for a Democratic Party organization and “used false birth dates and Social Security numbers to register deceased persons to vote. He received prison time for his efforts, but his case is only one of hundreds where false registration to vote took place. In fact, Snead says that “a 2012 Pew study concluded that 1.8 million voters remained on the rolls after their passing.”
An illegal alien in Baltimore, Maryland, overstayed his temporary work visa in 1969. “He was convicted of “residing illegally in the United States, collecting Medicare and Social Security benefits, and voting in U.S. elections.” Even though he “was convicted of child abuse in 2004” and “a registered sex offender,” “he continued to vote numerous times despite being ineligible.” He was sentenced to spend three months in prison, one year in supervised release, and “ordered to pay $48,928 in restitution.” Snead says that the “newest additions to the database included a dozen cases of illegal voting by noncitizens” and each vote nullified the ballot of an eligible voter. It only takes a few nullified ballots to swing an election.
A woman in Ohio pleaded guilty to illegal voting. She registered to vote and requested absentee ballots. She then submitted the ballots under two different names. Her sentence of 120 days imprisonment was suspended, but she had to pay a fine of $200 plus court costs. Her “experience is not uncommon” as there “are dozens of cases in the database where individuals voted multiple times in the same election.”
The voter fraud database at The Heritage Foundation does not include all cases of fraud. However, it does prove that 1,071 cases of fraud took place, and it shows “the importance – and the urgency – of the work of the Election Integrity Commission.” More data must be collected and analyzed to determine “whether the nation’s voter registration records are accurate or riddled with errors.”
The task of collecting more data is difficult because some states are “stonewalling” the effort. Snead says, “This begs the question, why? If fraud is as rare as liberals say, and if state protections against it are as robust as we are told, why withhold data that would prove these claims? Perhaps liberals are afraid that the data might, in fact, say the opposite.”
Voter fraud is obviously real. The information on the database contains only proven cases of voter fraud. There are most likely many cases that have not been discovered and prosecuted. However, there may not be the “millions” of illegal votes claimed by President Trump.