Remember All that Voter Fraud? The Real Numbers Surprised Us

It is easy to grab headlines with a lurid claim –“TENS OF THOUSANDS MAY BE VOTING ILLEGALLY!”– but the follow-up, when any exists – is not usually deemed newsworthy. – From “The Truth About Voter Fraud” by the Brennan Center for Justice.

This is an attempt by guest writer Flantabulous to compile all ‘those non-newsworthy follow-ups’.



was the headline in Michigan’s two largest papers. 1) 2

But, Michigan’s GOP Secretary of State, was forced to clarify:

“clerical error is the culprit behind the voting concerns, not voter fraud”… “in every instance where it appears a deceased person or incarcerated person voted… a clerical error was established as the reason.”

The Claim: 1500

The actual number of dead people and prisoners voting: 0

0 out of 8 million total votes


FOX NEWS REPORTS HUNDREDS OF CONVICTED FELONS VOTED IN 2008, possibly handing the election to Franken

An independent audit of tens of thousands of votes found 10. Since these were instances of ex-felons, using their own identity to vote before their rights had been restored, voter ID would have had no effect.

NONE were prosecuted as intentional fraud. Fox has yet to correct or retract their story.

The Claim: Hundreds

Actual number of ex-felons improperly voting: 10

10 out of 2.8 MILLION votes — or 0.00003% of the vote


still-cant-find-the-fraudGOP claims Democratic voter fraud in Wisconsin is equal to “1 or 2 percentage points”(PolitiFact: FALSE)

From 2008-2012, an Election Fraud Task Force operated with the District Attorneys of the 11 counties republicans most suspected of fraudulent voting. In the end,they found 20 cases, 6 were registrations, not voting. 14 were ex-felons voting before their rights had been restored.

In Wisconsin’s voter ID trial, a federal judge asked the state to provide evidence of ‘voter impersonation’ – the only type of fraud that voter ID can stop. The state could not produce a single known case in Wisconsin history.

The Claim: Up to 43,000

Number of actual cases found: 14 (all ex-felons, voting before their rights were restored)

14 out of 10.5 MILLION votes, or 0.0001% of the vote


Fox News: Hundreds of cases of potential voter fraud in North Carolina
NewsMax: North Carolina Identifies 36,000 Possible Voter Fraud Cases
TownHall: Audit Finds Evidence of Widespread Voter Fraud in North Carolina

Earlier this year these headlines echoed through the conservative media.

But what was the truth behind these claims? Simple; it turns out that when you can’t find voter fraud, the easiest thing to do is expand where you look.

In 2012 Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach began pushing a new scheme called “Interstate Crosscheck”. 25 mostly Republican states are participating. What sets the Interstate Crosscheck program apart from other systems state and local election boards use is the size of its database —in 2012, the program compared more than 84 million voter registration records.

So, in case you are wondering – yes, the claim here is that Bob Smith who voted in NC, is the same Bob Smith who voted the same day in Florida, Alaska and Ohio.

To date no prosecutions have been brought based on this data.

The Claim: 36,000

The actual number of multi-state voters: 0

0 out of 4.5 million votes in NC



Based on these claims, Rick Scott ordered a voter purge. When local officials reported badly flawed data, that seemed to single out Hispanics, the Secretary of State ended the voter purge and resigned. His replacement whittled the number down to 2600. After local officials initially found over 500 legal voters they were being asked to remove, they rebelled and ended the purge themselves. In the end, Florida contacted the 2600 people purged and informed them they would be allowed to vote. Newspapers asked the Florida Dept. of Law Enforcement for all reports of people arrested on voter fraud charges from 2000-2011. The total was 11.

The Claim: 200,000

The actual number from 2000 to 2011: 11

11 out of approximately 45 MILLION votes – or 0.00002% of the vote


State officials claimed on Fox News that “900 DEAD PEOPLE HAD VOTED”

After a year-long state investigation, the actual number of dead people voting turned out to be ZERO.

Note: South Carolina only released the results of the study after being sued by the media. They still went on to pass one of the country’s strictest voter ID laws “to prevent dead people from voting”.

The Claim: 900

The actual number of dead people voting: 0

0 out of 1.3 MILLION votes


Between Fox News’ reports of scary Black Panthers at Philadelphia polls and Sean Hannitys’ insistence that Romney getting no votes in some Philladelphia precincts was ‘mathematically impossible’

Those “urban people” areas seemed rife with voter fraud. So the Republican governor and legislature launched an ambitious voter ID law.

(The Philadelphia Inquirer actually sent reporters to scour these precincts, knock on doors of the listed addresses, to find those registered republicans. They mostly came up empty handed. The few that actually existed, voted for Obama.)

Pennsylvania passed a tough voter ID law anyway. When appearing in court to defend it’s new voter ID laws, a judge’s request for evidence resulted in the state offering the “Applewhite Stipulation”; where they acknowledged that Pennsylvania could not produce a single known case of in-person voter fraud in its history.

0 out of 5.9 MILLION votes


The Maine GOP gave the Attorney General a list of the names 206 college students they believed voted illegally in the state. The AG expanded the investigation to include all types of “voter fraud”. All the students were cleared, 1 case of a non-resident was discovered.

The Claim: 206

The actual number of students “illegally” voting out of state: 1

1 out of 717,000 total votes, or 0.0001% of the vote


“3,582 non-citizens may have registered to vote in Iowa, and 1208 voted in 2010”, according to GOP Secretary of State Matt Schultz.

Schultz spent two years and $280,000 of federal “Help America Vote” funds chasing voter fraud instead, including hiring a full-time investigator.

Of the 2+ million votes cast, Schultz said that 238 total cases of “suspected election misconduct” were investigated. 117 were turned over to prosecutors. 27 ended up in charges, with a total of 6 convictions. The cost to the tax payer was $46,000 per conviction. Five were ex-felons, voting before their rights had been restored. One actually was a case of a non-citizen voting – – a German national.

Interestingly, the investigation also uncovered 20 ex-felons who were illegally denied the right to vote. So there were actually three times more ex-felons kept from voting legally, than allowed to vote illegally.

Schultz is back for more money: Iowa secretary of state to seek more funds for voter fraud investigation – Schultz seeking $140,000 in funding

Throwing in a sad little story about one non-citizen who voted and was pursued by the state of Iowa. It’s a good read, and also very typical of the real stories behind ‘non-citizen voters’.

The Claim: 3,582 non-citizens may have voted

Actual number of illegal votes: 6

6 out of 2.5 MILLION total votes or 0.0002% of the vote


Gregg Abbot made “voter fraud” a key pillar of his tenure as Texas Attorney General. He raided and shut down non-profit groups that registered poor and minority people in the Houston area.

After conducting extensive investigations over multiple elections, he bragged in an editorial in USA Today that he had rounded up 50 fraudulent voters from 2004 to 2012.

Politifact rates that claim Half-True since only 26 resulted in conviction.

26 out of approximately 35 MILLION votes over a decade, or 0.00005%


Fox News: Non-citizens caught voting in 2012 presidential election in key swing state

According to Fox: “Husted also found that 274 non-citizens remain on the voting rolls. President Obama beat Mitt Romney in Ohio by just 2 percentage points in November 2012”.

Implying one had anything to do with the other. By the way, 2% of the Ohio vote would be 109,780 not 274.

274 was whittled down to 135, that were recommended to local prosecutors.

In a great story that really goes right to the heart of what typically happens in all these cases of large numbers of voter fraud claims – a newspaper consortium followed up every one of those cases in a piece entitled: Potential voter fraud cases from 2012 election often dropped as simple mistakes, elderly confusion.

Eventually 17 cases did bring charges, from an old man who thought it was “alright” to vote on ‘just the local issues’ at one house and the president in another state, to two people who voted absentee for the spouses or friends who died just before the election. One was a nun who voted for another nun who died. There was also one woman who apparently really did commit purposeful voter fraud by voting 5 times. She was given 5 years in prison.

The Claim: 274 non eligible voters

Actual number of voter fraud cases: 17

17 out of almost 5.5 million votes or 0.0003% of the vote


“…how many non-citizens were on the rolls…there’s a minimum of 489…but we have this pot of 20,000 that could include non-citizens Said Scott Gessler, another voter ID advocating/voter fraud-sniffing GOP Secretary of State.

You know the drill by now 20,000 “potential” becomes 489, becomes 155, becomes 35 when checked against voters, of which 14 have never voted, yada, yada. Which leaves us with 21.

The Boulder/Denver District Attorney “reviewed the 17 names submitted for potential prosecution and found all were easily able to verify their status as eligible voters”.

The Claim: 489, up to 20,000 non citizens voting

The actual number of non citizens voting: 0

0 out of approximately 3 million votes


There are too many myths about voter fraud in the 2012 election. This ground has been covered to death. Here is Snopes’ item by item takedown of every single alleged case. Spoiler alert; just because it appears on your Facebook Newsfeed doesn’t mean it’s actually from the news.


So that’s 85 improper votes out of a total of over 124,700,000 votes, most of which would not have been prevented by Voter ID laws.

A good way to look at this would be to look at estimates (which do exist in some states) of the number of people without proper voter ID.

For instance in the voter ID trial in Wisconsin, researchers for the plaintiff found that approximately 300,000 Wisconsinites lacked the proper ID to vote.

That’s up to 9.4% of voters losing the right to vote to “stop” 0.0001% of fraudulent votes.

Of course, the ‘fraudulent votes in Wisconsin were all composed of ex-felons voting before their rights had been restored – which of course, an ID wouldn’t stop, as they voted under their own names, and drivers licences do not note whether a person has ever had a felony or not.

Another way to look at it is, I believe somewhere in the Ohio part, they found that over 200,000 ballots were ‘spoiled’. (A stray pencil mark, an incomplete mark, marking more than one candidate in a category, etc.)

So that, in one election alone, simple mistakes counted for almost 4% of the vote being thrown out, and ‘voter fraud’ counted for 0.0003% of the vote being thrown out.

But, like you – I know this won’t make much difference to people who see this issue emotionally instead of logically.


Fox News: Voter registration fraud probe looms over tight Georgia Senate race

Groups are already claiming fraud in Maryland and Virginia.


One of the biggest believers in ‘voter fraud’ was the Bush Administration, going so far as to fire career Federal Attorneys who wouldn’t vigorously pursue the voter fraud.

NYT: In 5-Year Effort, Scant Evidence of Voter Fraud

Author: Brian White

Brian first began peddling his humorous wares with a series of Xerox printed books in fifth grade. Since then he's published over two thousand satire and humor articles, as well as eight stage plays, a 13-episode cable sitcom and three (terrible) screenplays. He is a freelance writer by trade and an expert in the field of viral entertainment marketing. He is the author of many of the biggest hoaxes of recent years, a shameful accomplishment in which he takes exceptional pride.