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President Trump claims that widespread cases of voter fraud will dramatically sway the upcoming election. But are these remarks fact or fiction?
Since the controversial 2016 election, the question of potential voter fraud has been raised by politicians who claim that widespread illegal voting tampered with the election. After President Trump’s Electoral College win and popular vote loss, he claimed in a tweet posted weeks after his win that the loss was only due to voter fraud.
President Trump’s campaign lawyer explicitly stated the 2016 election was “not tainted,” despite the President’s repetitive calls for a “major investigation” into the issue. It was discovered in January 2017 that a man who Trump had cited as an expert on voter fraud was actually registered to vote in 3 states at the time of the election.
Trump’s major claim of the impacts of voter fraud stemmed from the potentiality of individuals registering to vote in more than one state. Besides the alleged issue of American citizens double or triple registering in various states, Trump has also claimed that voting by three to five million illegal immigrants caused him to lose the popular vote to Hilary Clinton.
In a 2019 address to young conservatives at Turning Point USA’s Teen Student Action Summit, Trump spoke about voter fraud amongst illegal immigrants.
“…Then those illegals get out and vote, because they vote anyway,” said Trump. “Don’t kid yourself, those numbers in California and numerous other states, they’re rigged. They’ve got people voting that shouldn’t be voting. They vote many times, not just twice, not just three times. It’s like a circle. They come back, they put a new hat on. They come back, they put a new shirt on. And in many cases, they don’t even do that. You know what’s going on. It’s a rigged deal.”
These claims were proven to be unsubstantiated after an investigation by the Washington Post discovered a lack of truth in all three allegations. First, illegal immigrants rarely vote for risk of their illegal status being discovered by federal agencies, and secondly, voter fraud amongst legal citizens is rare as it is. No evidence ever emerged of “any significant number of people casting illegal ballots.”
President Trump’s claims that voters attempt to vote more than once are also unsubstantiated. Changing clothes in order to cast multiple votes is not possible, because of voter rolls that are checked before votes are allowed to be cast. According to the Post, in 2004 President Trump publicly attempted to cast a vote in New York City but was turned away from multiple polling stations when it showed that he was not on voter rolls.
In terms of current cases of voter fraud in the United States, there is much speculation regarding the risks and the benefits of mail-in voting.
Republicans have been largely outspoken about the downsides of absentee voting and how absentee voting can lead to widespread voter fraud. Republicans have cited Minnesota as an example of voter fraud, but the state has only seen two cases of voter fraud since 1979.
As Republicans continue to name voter fraud as a potential reason to limit or eliminate mail-in voting, judges across the country are pushing back against the allegations. CNN reported earlier this week that federal judges (appointed by both Republican and Democratic Presidents) have referred to these claims as “baseless and difficult, if not impossible, to back up in court.”
Judges in New Jersey, Montana, Ohio, Louisiana, Nevada, Illinois and Pennsylvania have all rejected motions and lawsuits claiming voter fraud. District Judge of Montana, Dana Christensen, went so far as to refer to Trump’s allegations of potential voter fraud with all-mail voting systems as “fiction.”
One of the most recent displays of voter fraud occurred at the hands of the California GOP, who have stated that California is a “hotbed of voter fraud,” repetitively pointing out that in the state, voters can have their ballot submitted by another person on their behalf. It was discovered days ago that GOP Representatives have set up falsely labeled ballot boxes marked as “official,” that aren’t official at all.
The New York Times reported on Monday that the “dark grey metal boxes” have been “popping up over the past two weeks near churches, gun shops and Republican Party offices, mostly in conservative areas of a deep-blue state.”
These boxes boast labels which state “Official Ballot Drop Off Box” or “Ballot Drop Off Box,” and can be misleading to citizens who think they are casting their vote at an official polling station. On Monday California’s Secretary of State, Alex Padilla, sent a cease and desist order to both county and state Republican parties, requiring them to remove the boxes, stating that they “are not permitted by state law.”
It is unclear how this debate will end, as both Republicans and Democrats are ruthlessly advocating for their narrative of the “voter fraud” storyline. As American citizens face the worst pandemic in a century coupled with a groundbreaking election year, tensions are bound to be high, and questions of voter fraud will continue to remain at the forefront of discussion.
The Republican Party’s efforts to push the “voter fraud” narrative are intrinsically biased and unfounded. If Republicans themselves are placing illegal ballot boxes across the state of California, yet claiming that voter fraud is rampant across the country, the question must be asked — what is the hidden agenda here?
Rather than listening to President Trump’s unfounded statements on voter fraud, which he has been proclaiming since the beginning of his presidency, we should choose instead to listen to the judges who regard Trump’s claims as “baseless” and “fiction.”
Casting ballots safely by mail is currently an option in every U.S. state, but certain states require special circumstances in order to use this option. For the safest and most trusted ways to cast your vote, research your official local polling stations, and drop off your ballot there to prevent overloading USPS offices with ballots. Fill out your ballot, safely deliver it, and make your voice heard this election.