Trump Falsely Claims 3 Million People Voted Illegally

President-elect Trump has once again made history.

In a claim unlike anything we’ve seen from previous presidents, Trump made a fact-less allegation that “millions of people” voted illegally for Hillary Clinton. screenshot-105

Just four minutes later he tweeted, “It would have been much easier for me to win the so-called popular vote than the Electoral College in that I would only campaign in 3 or 4 states instead of the 15 states that I visited. I would have won even more easily and convincingly (but smaller states are forgotten)!”

But what really started this rumor of illegal voting was actually – ironically – another tweetGregg Phillips, founder of the “voter fraud” reporting app VoteStand, tweeted on Nov. 11 that there were more than 3 million illegal citizens that voted. screenshot-111

Two days later, Phillips tweeted again about further legal actions they would seek.  screenshot-110

InfoWars, a conspiracy website run by conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, then picked up the story a day later with the title: REPORT: THREE MILLION VOTES IN PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION CAST BY ILLEGAL ALIENS. The article has been shared more than 50,000 times on Facebook.

So is this claim true?

PolitiFact reports that the only evidence InfoWars was going off is Phillips’ tweet and VoterFraud.org. No report was found on VoterFraud.org and Phillips refuses to explain how he arrived at that number and what methods he used.

For historical reference, an investigative project conducted by News 21 found only 56 cases of non-citizens voting from 2000 to 2011.

Phillips also isn’t the most neutral party to be judging voter fraud. Phillips is a former finance director of the Alabama Republican Party former executive director of the Mississippi Republican Party and former managing director of a super PAC that supported Newt Gingrich’s 2012 campaign for president.

These tweets from Trump come after the Clinton campaign announced they will be joining the efforts of third-party candidate Jill Stein to conduct a recount in Wisconsin. Stein is also seeking recounts in Pennsylvania and Michigan and it’s something Trump is calling a “scam.”

Since Phillips failed to reveal how he concluded that 3 million illegal people voted, PolitiFact rated the statement inaccurate and completely false.

 

Third-Party Candidates Johnson, Stein Could Have Cost Clinton the Election

President-elect Donald Trump won four key battleground states – Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Florida – in order to win the election. In all of these states, the vote total between Trump and Clinton was less than a few hundred thousand votes and, in some cases, only differed by as little as 11,000 votes.

When analyzing the results of the third party candidates – Jill Stein of the Green Party and Gary Johnson of the Libertarian Party – their votes add up to more than the difference between Trump and Clinton in these states.

Had Clinton been able to capture the support of these third party voters, would it have prevented Trump from having the edge he needed in these key swing states?

In Michigan, for example, Trump received 2,279,805 votes compared to Clinton’s 2,268,193 – a difference of 11,612. Johnson received 173,057 votes and Stein got 50,700. The results were similar in almost every other major swing state.

Wisconsin

  • Trump/Clinton difference – 27,257
  • Johnson/Stein votes – 137,422

Pennsylvania

  • Trump/Clinton difference – 68,236
  • Johnson/Stein votes – 191,565

Florida

  • Trump/Clinton difference – 119,770
  • Johnson/Stein votes – 270,026

“Do third parties make a difference? Sure they do,” said Kevin Baron, Civic Engagement Coordinator at the Bob Graham Center for Public Service. “Look at Florida – Johnson and Stein combined received approximately 260,000 votes, which on a one-to-one equated to Clinton votes, she would have won. The problem with these assumptions … is there’s no way to know if the Johnson or Stein voters would have even voted, as it would be assumed they would not have wanted to vote for either Trump of Clinton.”

It’s impossible to know whether these third-party voters would have voted for Clinton, but polls throughout the campaign suggested independents were more likely to support Clinton if it came down to only her or Trump as the choices. Then again, this election also showed how flawed our polling and prediction methods are.

Even Johnson’s Libertarian vice-presidential nominee, Bill Weld, warned against voting for himself and Johnson in swing states.

“I’m here vouching for Mrs. Clinton and I think it’s high time somebody did,” Weld told MSNBC. “I see a big difference between the Republican candidate and the Democratic candidate. And I’ve been at some pains to say that I fear for the country if Mr. Trump should be elected.”

Some third-party voters in swing states became aware of the larger effect they could have on the outcome of the election if they voted for Johnson or Stein. In response, they began “swapping” their third-party vote through apps such as #NeverTrump. For example, a Johnson supporter who lives in the battleground state of North Carolina can get matched with a Clinton supporter in New York. The Johnson supporter will then vote for Clinton in NC and the Clinton supporter will vote for Johnson in NY.

Of course, there could be a much simpler – and arguably more democratic – way of conducting elections: get rid of the electoral college.

“If we had a system where the president was popularly elected instead of through the electoral college, then third-party candidates would not be seen as “spoilers” in certain swing states,” Baron said. “Swing states would not exist and every vote in every state would count, and Clinton would be president right now and not Trump.”

Donald Trump was Right: The Election was Rigged

img_20161024_104446While hosting rallies on the campaign trail, then-presidential candidate Donald Trump consistently riled his crowds with cries of voter fraud and a rigged election. It turns out he was right about a rigged election – just not in the way many might have thought.

Donald Trump won the election with 306 electoral votes vs. Hillary Clinton’s 232, however, Clinton’s popular vote lead continues to climb – by a lot.

As of Nov. 23, Clinton’s vote total was 64,223,986 (48.1% of the vote), while Trump’s was only 62,206,395 (46.6%). That’s a difference of 2,017,591 votes (1.5%), with more votes still to count.

No candidate in the history of the United States has lost the popular vote by so much and still won, which has many questioning whether or not we should abolish the electoral college system.

Why We Use the Electoral College

The U.S. is the only democratic nation where voters elect an intermediate body (electors) who then cast their votes on their behalf for a presidential candidate. The reason for this stems back to the founding fathers, when Alexander Hamilton believed a, “small number of people, selected by their fellow-citizens from the general mass, would be most likely to possess the information and discernment requisite to such complicated investigations.” In other terms, the founding fathers didn’t trust the general population to elect the right candidate.

Many people argue the reason we still have it now is because it allows smaller states to have as much power as larger ones, however, it doesn’t quite work out equally. It turns out smaller states end up having more power due to electors representing a much smaller population size than in larger ones.

For example; North Dakota’s population size is 756,927 and has three electoral votes, meaning each elector represents 252,309 people. California, on the other hand, has a population size of 38,802,500 and has 55 electoral votes, meaning each elector represents 705,500.

On top of this, the electoral college makes it so that only the dozen or so swing states are important for presidents to campaign in.

If We Had a Popular Vote System

Prior to this election, only one other candidate since the 1800’s has won a presidential election losing the popular vote. It’s happened in 1824, 1876, 1888, 2000 and now 2016. Before this year’s election, the biggest vote difference was in 2000, where Al Gore received more than 540,000 more votes than George W. Bush, whom won the electoral vote.

Now, for the second time within two decades, a candidate has lost the popular vote but won the election.

Had this election been turned around, with Clinton losing the popular vote by more than 2 million votes while winning the presidency, would Trump not call this exactly what he’d been saying for months: a rigged election?

Trump has tweets from 2012 saying, “The electoral college is a disaster for democracy,” and others he deleted, which include, “He lost the popular vote by a lot and won the election. We should have a revolution in this country!” and, “We can’t let this happen. We should march on Washington and stop this travesty. Our nation is totally divided!” Just a side note, Obama actually won the popular vote by nearly 5 million votes in 2012, contrary to what Trump tweeted. After he won this November, he did a full reversal, tweeting, “The electoral college is actually genius in that it brings all states, including the smaller ones, into play. Campaigning is much different!”

President-elect Trump was right; this election was rigged – but not by voter fraud or stuffing the ballot boxes – by the very system in which we call “democracy.”

Welcome to The Election of a Lifetime

Welcome!

My name is Ramsey Touchberry and I’m a third-year broadcast journalism major at the University of Florida. I am a reporter for WUFT -FM 89.1 which is the local NPR station for the Gainesville, Ocala and surrounding areas. I am also the Editor-in-chief for the Florida Political Review, an undergraduate student journal that gives voice to UF students and their opinions.

My love and interest in politics has inspired me to create this site in order to report on the current presidential race. By following The Election of a Lifetime, you’ll be kept up-to-date on what occurs within both the Trump and Clinton campaigns. Most articles will be focused on fact-checking major claims made by both candidates.

Check back weekly for in-depth analysis and reporting on everything to do with the presidential election cycle.

Feel free to contact me at rttouchberry@ufl.edu and follow me on Twitter @ramsberry1.

-Ramsey