On January 25, Donald Trump issued (via Twitter, of course) a declaration to crack down on “VOTER FRAUD, including those who are registered to vote in two states.”
So it’s fascinating to discover that Steve Bannon, senior advisor to the President, is registered to vote in both New York and Florida, while Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s nominee to head the Treasury Department, can cast his ballot in New York and California. Oh, and Tiffany Trump also has two voting places: New York and Pennsylvania.
It’s important to note that being registered to vote in two locations is not electoral fraud unless these US citizens actually vote in two different states. Yet Trump seemed to suggest an “alternative fact” that being registered to vote in two different states is voter fraud.
The President went on to write that his VOTER FRAUD included, “those who are illegal and … even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!”
It was at a private reception with congressional leaders on January 23 that Trump insisted on his unsubstantiated claims that between 3 million and 5 million ballots were cast illegally in the election, and that’s why Hillary Clinton, his Democratic rival, won the popular vote by more than 2.8 million votes.
Neither Trump nor his aides have come up with a single fact to back up his claim, so why is he pursuing an investigation?
Trump Has Been Stewing About His Popular-Vote Count
“A Trump adviser told The Washington Post on Wednesday that Trump has been stewing about his popular-vote count for weeks and insisting to friends that Clinton benefited from illegal votes in Democratic-leaning states such as California,” reports The Washington Post.
In fact, an investigation of the 2016 elections have produced just four cases of voter fraudso far. And the idea of voter fraud has been debunked numerous times in the past. This is just another conspiracy theory.
Voter Fraud Almost Never Happens
The reality is that voter fraud almost never happens. According to The Washington Post:
“One researcher conducted a comprehensive investigation of elections from 2000 to 2014 and was able to find only 31 credible allegations of voter impersonation in the entire country, during a period where over a billion votes were cast.”
Justin Levitt of Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, conducted this investigation and found that some of those cases may have been because of clerical errors. He also found that the rate of voter impersonation is approximately one instance out of every 32 million ballots cast.
There have been only a few federal investigations of fraud. The George W. Bush administration conducted one over a five-year period, which “turned up virtually no evidence” of organized fraud, according to The New York Times, and instead led to resignations and further investigations for the Department of Justice.
Iowa’s Republican Secretary of State investigated voter fraud in 2014, resulting in 27 criminal charges, of which several were related to mistakes or voting rules being misunderstood.
The list goes on and on.
And let’s not forget that “Republicans have used claims of widespread voter fraud to discriminate and restrict access to the ballot box for years,” according to Democratic US Representative James Clyburn of South Carolina.
Republicans and Democrats Alike Dismiss Trump’s Claims
Lawmakers from both major parties see no validity in Trump’s claims.
The vast majority of those in Trump’s party share the view of House Speaker Paul Ryan, who told reporters on January 24 that he had “seen no evidence” to embrace Trump’s version of the election.
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke at a news conference on January 25, and was perplexed why Trump is “so insecure.” “To suggest and to undermine the integrity of our voter system is really strange,” Pelosi said. “… On top of it, he wants to investigate something that can clearly be proven to be false, but he resists investigations of a Russian disruption of our election and any connection to his campaign. All we want is the truth for the American people.”
A Dangerous Attack on Democracy
This might be funny, if it were not so dangerous. We may well scoff at Trump for being so insecure, with his false assertion that millions of people voted illegally on November 8, but the fact is that he is the US President, and what he is doing is dangerous.
Trump is displaying the traits of an authoritarian leader who seeks to undermine democracy by casting doubt on anyone or any information that he feels could challenge his authority or threaten his legitimacy. The “dishonest media” and the “phony polls” go right along with the assertions of “VOTER FRAUD.”
Not everyone can pay for the news. But if you can, we need your support.
Truthout is widely read among people with lower incomes and among young people who are mired in debt. Our site is read at public libraries, among people without internet access of their own. People print out our articles and send them to family members in prison — we receive letters from behind bars regularly thanking us for our coverage. Our stories are emailed and shared around communities, sparking grassroots mobilization.
We’re committed to keeping all Truthout articles free and available to the public. But in order to do that, we need those who can afford to contribute to our work to do so — especially now, because we have just 1 day left to raise $27,000 in critical funds.
We’ll never require you to give, but we can ask you from the bottom of our hearts: Will you donate what you can, so we can continue providing journalism in the service of justice and truth?