News and Commentary

11 Things You Need to Know About Voter Fraud

Donald Trump’s repeated complaints about a “rigged” election have a grain of truth to them, particularly when it comes to voter fraud. The left always sneers at the notion of voter fraud, except when it comes to candidates they like. How much voter fraud occurs, and has it actually determined any elections?

Here are 11 things you need to know about voter fraud.

1. What exactly is voter fraud? Matthew Vadum at LifeZette describes voter fraud as the “unlawful interference with the electoral process in an effort to bring about a desired result” done through “fraudulent voting, impersonation, intimidation, perjury, voter registration fraud, forgery, counterfeiting, bribery, destroying already cast ballots, and a multitude of crimes related to the electoral process.”

In other words, voter fraud is a direct threat on the right to vote. A lawful vote could be canceled out by a fraudulent citizen, essentially denying a citizen a say in the political process.

2. What are the penalties for committing voter fraud? Hans von Spakovsky explains at Conservative Review:

Falsely claiming to be a citizen on a voter registration form is a felony that violates three different federal statutes. Voting by a non-citizen under 18 U.S.C. §611 is a strict liability offense. In other words, it “does not require proof that the offender was aware that citizenship is a prerequisite to voting.”

The punishment for violating 18 U.S.C. §611 involves a fine and prison time that is up to a year. The same is true for those who violate 18 U.S. Code § 594, which makes it a felony to engage in voter intimidation.

3. It is impossible to determine the full extent of voter fraud in the country. The left views voter fraud as if it’s a mythical creature that has rare “sightings” every now and then. But the fact is that it’s difficult to know for sure the exact frequency of voter fraud, as Discover the Networks explains:

That said, the full extent of the problem cannot be known for certain, simply because, as blogger John Hinderaker explains: “By definition, those who perpetrate [voter fraud] seek to go undetected, and it is a circular argument to say that there is no need for better law enforcement because our current lax enforcement hasn’t caught many violators.”

In a similar vein, in May 2012 author John Fund wrote: “Just this week in Fort Worth, Texas, a Democratic precinct chairwoman was indicted on charges of arranging an illegal vote. Hazel Woodard James has been charged with conspiring with her non-registered son to have him vote in place of his father. The only reason the crime was detected was that the father showed up later in the day to vote at the same precinct. Most fraudsters are smart enough to have their accomplices cast votes in the names of dead people on the voter rolls, who are highly unlikely to appear and complain that someone else voted in their place.

Here is what is known about the amount of voter fraud and its history in the country.

4. Voter fraud became rampant at the height of Tammany Hall’s power. John Fund wrote a City Journal piece in 2004 chronicling how the Tammany politicians in New York literally would employ “wholesale operatives who would guarantee thick bundles of votes,” as “thugs would go from one polling place to the next, impersonating citizens who hadn’t yet voted.” Tammany politicians also ensured that as soon as immigrants landed in the United States, they would speed through the naturalization process to ensure they would become voters.

William Marcy Tweed–more infamously known as Boss Tweed–declared in an exchange with a New York City alderman during his 1877 testimony, “I don’t think there was ever a fair or honest election in the City of New York,” words that were exemplified during the New York City mayoral race involving William Randolph Hearst:

On election day, notes Hearst biographer David Nasaw, “there were instances of voter fraud, of poll watchers being chased away, of delays in reporting returns, of unopened and uncounted ballot boxes mysteriously turning up in the East River.” The New York Independent declared it “the most extraordinary election ever witnessed in New York City”—and that’s saying something. The New York Times reported that the challenger’s poll watchers, having been beaten up and driven off by Tammany goons, “came into the Hearst headquarters last night with bandaged hands. Some carried their arms in slings. At about ten o’clock in the evening a report was received that the returns were being held back from these districts”—presumably as Tammany stuffed the ballot boxes to achieve the desired count. One poll watcher, an R. Little, “had a finger chewed off and his face cut.”

Though the newspapers, including the New York Times expressed outrage over the violence, they also thanked the voters for making sure McClellan won. The Boss Tweed-style type of voter fraud corruption consisted of “10 to 15 percent of the vote” in the nineteenth century, according to a 1929 Brookings Institute study.

Voter fraud reached an absurdly high level under the Mayor Frank Hague political machine that spanned “across the Hudson River from New York, from 1917 to 1947,” as Hague perfected “voter fraud into a science.” Hague’s minions were able to rig an election in favor of a local Democratic candidate with 433 votes, while the Republican only had one sole vote due to “torn ballots, others with unmistakable erasure marks, and yet others altered by pencil” found afterward. The one vote for the Republican wouldn’t even have occurred if Hague’s goons could erase it properly. In another election, the Honest Ballot Association tried to thwart the Hague machine by using 245 Princeton students to be on the lookout for voter fraud; the students were all pummeled by the Hague thugs.

Voter fraud may not occur to the extent today as it did during the Tweed and Hague years, but it is on the ascent due to…

5. The 1993 “Motor Voter” law opened the floodgates for fraudulent voting. According to Fund, the “Motor Voter Act,” which was signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993, allows people to register to vote “without showing ID or proof of citizenship” when they’re filing for “welfare or unemployment” or attempting to renew their driver’s license. “Motor Voter” also increases the difficulty of removing ineligible voters from the voter rolls.

6. As expected, it is not hard to commit voter fraud due to the lax conditions created by the “Motor Voter Act.” Fund explained in a 2014 National Review article that New York City’s Department of Investigations agents went undercover and assumed the identity of people who had become ineligible to vote due to death, change of residency or being in prison. The result was that 97 percent of the time, the agents were allowed to vote despite being under a false identity.

Guerilla journalist James O’Keefe provided video evidence of just how easy it is to commit video fraud in Michigan without voter identification laws:

7. Voter fraud overwhelmingly benefits Democrats. Via Fund’s City Journal piece:

The reason that the cheating is happening overwhelmingly among the Dems these days may have something to do with who supports the respective parties, say Larry Sabato and Glenn Simpson in their book Dirty Little Secrets. Republican voters tend to be middle class and not easily tempted to commit fraud, while “the pool of people who appear to be available and more vulnerable to an invitation to participate in vote fraud tend to lean Democratic.” Most incidents of wide-scale fraud, agrees Paul Harrison, director of the Center for American Politics at the University of Maryland, “reportedly occur in inner cities.”

Later on in Fund’s piece, he notes that in the chaos of the Florida recount in the 2000 presidential election, there were 5,600 voters who had shared the same name as felons, 68 percent of which were Democrats.

8. There is now video evidence of Democrats admitting that they encourage voter fraud. O’Keefe was able to produce two videos of two Democrat operatives gloating about how they engage in voter fraud to benefit their candidates. For more on that, read Daily Wire editor-in-chief Ben Shapiro’s piece here.

9. Data from the 2012 election shows a large number of ineligible voters on the voter rolls. The Daily Wire has reported on the following statistics from that election, via the Pew Research Center:

  • There were almost “24 million active voter registrations in the U.S. either invalid or inaccurate.”

  • Almost two million dead Americans were still on the active voting lists.

  • 12 million voter records were riddled with “incorrect addresses or other errors.”

  • Almost 2.75 million voters were registered in over one state.

10. A number of congressional elections have been decided by voter fraud. The most notable of which was the election of Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) in 2008. Political scientist professors Jesse Richman and David Earnest noted that Franken only won by 312 votes, meaning that “votes cast by just 0.65 percent of Minnesota non-citizens could account for this margin.” Noncitizens, the professors note, overwhelmingly supported Democrats that year. There were also 1,099 felons that voted in that race, all of whom were ineligible to do so.

Other examples of voter fraud deciding congressional elections from Fund’s City Journal piece:

A 1996 INS investigation into alleged Motor Voter fraud in California’s 46th congressional district discovered that “4,023 illegal voters possibly cast ballots in the disputed election between Republican Robert Dornan and Democrat Loretta Sanchez.” Dornan lost by fewer than 1,000 votes. In 2002, Dean Gardner, a losing GOP candidate for California’s state legislature, sent out a survey to 14,000 first-time voters. A total of 1,691 surveys came back. The results were startling: 76 people admitted that they weren’t citizens but had voted, while 49 claimed not to have registered at their correct residence, as the law requires. Gardner lost by only 266 votes.

In the 2000 election, as the Missouri secretary of state later discovered, 56,000 St. Louis-area voters held multiple voter registrations. No one knows how much actual fraud took place, but it may have played a role in the Democratic defeats of incumbent Republican senator John Ashcroft, who lost his seat by 49,000 votes, and gubernatorial candidate Jim Talent, who lost by 21,000 votes.

11. The examples of individual instances of voter fraud are endless. Discover the Networks has provided a voluminous list of examples here, here and here. There are already investigations into voter fraud this election cycle, that can be seen here and here. And there are plenty of documented examples of voter fraud here and here and here and here