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For historical reference, an investigative project conducted by News 21 found only 56 cases of non-citizens voting from 2000 to 2011.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

An analysis of voter fraud and Trump’s ‘rigged’ election claims

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has been using a new campaign strategy.

“Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day. Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!” Trump tweeted on Oct. 17. Just the day before, he also tweeted, “The election is absolutely being rigged by the dishonest and distorted media pushing Crooked Hillary – but also at many polling places – SAD.”

With footage of Trump claiming the election is going to be rigged dating back to the summer, he’s sparked a new debate. But are his claims supported by evidence?

Voter Fraud

Many studies have been done to determine whether voter fraud is real and if it could change the outcome of an election. PolitiFact examined Trump’s claim of “large scale voter fraud” and gave it a “Pants on Fire” rating. Meaning, the claim was blatantly false.

Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt, who’s now the deputy assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, did a comprehensive study of voter fraud. He examined all of the general, primary, special and municipal elections from 2000 to 2014. Out of the more than 1 billion votes cast in those elections, Levitt found only 31 cases in which in-person voter fraud occurred. PolitiFact notes that with those numbers, you’re more likely to be struck by lightning or attacked by a shark than commit voter fraud.

These types of various messages touted by Trump throughout the campaign have serious ramifications, despite them almost always being debunked.

A September Washington Post/ABC News poll found that 69 percent of Trump voters and 46 percent of all voters believed voter fraud occurred “very or somewhat often.”

Rigging the election

What about the ‘rigging’ of an election? Is it possible to hack into the voting machines and change ballots?

Many election experts say rigging an election in the U.S. would be nearly impossible due to the way our elections are run. Each county runs their own elections and there are more than 9,000 voting districts across the country.

If the voting site using machines, they’re not connected to the internet and most have a paper record as a backup. This prevents the possibility of hacking into the machines remotely. The machines are publicly tested before and after each day of voting and are locked and sealed.

Polling places are located in open, public spaces and most states have “poll observers” that were trained by both parties and monitor election officials. After all votes are cast, party and candidate representatives watch election officials count the votes.

In order for an election to be rigged, Democratic and Republican representatives, as well as election officials, would have to conspire to work together at every level.

“We have 67 counties in this state, each of which conduct their own elections. I promise you there is not a 67-county conspiracy to rig this election,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), who’s up for reelection against Rep. Patrick Murphy (D-Fla.). He emphasized that Republicans control much of the monitoring and ballot oversight process. “There is no evidence behind any of this … He should stop saying that.”

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.

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-Ramsey