Voter fraud

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Now why would these billboards have appeared in black neighborhoods of Cincinnati but not the white neighborhoods? Hmm.
It's a
Articles on illegal behaviour
The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything.
—Joseph Stalin[1]

Voter fraud is a moral panic weirdly popular in the United States. As genuine cases of voter fraud are almost non-existent, it is almost always a dog whistle term for people of color voting.

We must have tamper-proof biometric ID cards, otherwise illegal aliens and felons will intimidate your pure bodily fluids white daughters at the polling station!

A widespread belief persists of hordes of illegal immigrants and homeless people being bused around from polling place to polling place on election day. This claim has been used as an excuse to pass voter ID laws, abolish same-day voter registration, require birth certificates when registering to vote, and conduct frequent purges of the voter rolls. Even if voter fraud actually were a significant problem, few if any of these measures would actually be effective in preventing it.


Other allegations to "panic" about include:

  • ACORN — despite any evidence sorely lacking, the "ACORN engaged in voter fraud" allegation has been repeated so many times that people now make an automatic mental connection between ACORN and voter fraud. (For one example, Ballotpedia, a supposedly neutral wiki about elections and candidates which is actually funded with Koch Industries money, has an entire section devoted to "voter fraud" with the infobox previously illustrated with the ACORN logo.) What those making these allegations really don't like is that ACORN was registering black people to vote.
  • "Felons voting" — felons can legally vote in most states, and in most of them restoration of voting rights is automatic upon completion of their sentence. There are still a few lone holdouts still imposing lifelong voting bans on some or all felons or requiring a cumbersome petition instead of making restoration automatic. The trend in the last two decades has been to repeal those disenfranchisement laws. What those raising this claim really don't like is that black people are voting.
  • Intimidation of voters at the polls by the New Black Panther Party. This stems from one lone incident in Philadelphia, which has been mentioned so many times in the reactionary media, way out of proportion to its actual newsworthiness, that people believe it is widespread.
  • Illegal immigration in general. The "illegal immigrants voting" claim has been used by the John Tanton network of immigration-restriction groups as a pretext to support voter ID laws, as part of their broader agenda of promoting tamper proof ID cards through the REAL ID Act and eventually a national ID card, which they view as key to stopping illegal immigration. One of the first of the current rash of voter ID laws (Arizona Proposition 200 in 2004) was promoted almost entirely as an anti-illegal immigration measure.

Dead man's vote[edit]

We have awoken from our eternal slumber to feast on the brains of the living— and to vote for Joe Biden.

What started out as a joke in some states became an actual conspiracy theory. Claims that dead people are rising from their graves to cast ballots somehow turning ballots in are largely overblown. People sometimes end up casting a ballot in their name, but this most commonly is the result of an internal error, not fraud. Some examples of things that can happen:

  • A person is somehow, in fact, still alive. This claim they're dead usually stems from the fact that their date of birth on the registry is very old.[2]
  • When converting from paper to computer ballot counting, people who lacked a date of birth on their form were given a placeholder in some states.[3]
  • Someone has the same name as a dead person, usually someone who shares the same name as their deceased parent.[4][5]
  • Signatures on a roster may end up going into other rows, causing a computer to mistakenly think that the marks in the other rows are the signatures of other people.[6]
  • Very rarely, a person may legally cast an absentee ballot, but dies before the votes are counted. In these cases, seventeen states will not count the ballot, the rest will.[7]

People casting ballots in a dead person's name is still possible; however, it is incredibly rare.

2020: the year that allegations of voter fraud led to an attempted insurrection[edit]

See the main article on this topic: 2021 U.S. Capitol riot

Following Donald Trump's resounding defeat in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, he began actively circulating allegations that he had actually won the election, and only lost it because of voter fraud. But this was not actually new, Trump has claimed voter fraud even before he became a politician[8] — meaning he won the 2016 U.S. presidential election despite (or because of) voter fraud in his own mind.

Many of the false claims of voter fraud in 2020 were initially propagated by Russell J. Ramsland Jr. with his company Allied Security Operations Group, Ramsland tried unsuccessfully to push similar false claims in 2018 but at that time no candidate took his bait.[9] In 2020, the false claims were incorporated into failed lawsuits by Trump lawyer Sidney Powell, and by Trump surrogates (Louie Gohmert and Rudy Giuliani).[9] The voting machine companies that were defamed by Powell and Trump's other surrogates, Giuliani, Lou Dobbs, Fox News, and Newsmax have subsequently been sued for defamation to the tune of billions of dollars.[10]

In the real world, there were indeed cases of voter fraud during the 2020 election: less than two dozen individuals across the whole country (less than 1 per 10 million votes cast).[11]

Name State Alleged circumstance Vote cast
Ralph Thurman[11] Pennsylvania Tried to feebly impersonate his son and cast a second vote Unknown
Darrick Kent[12] Illinois Falsely claimed Illinois residency Unknown
Amy Kent[12] Illinois Falsely claimed Illinois residency Unknown
Adam P. Butler[12] Illinois Falsely claimed he was someone else Unknown
Thomas E. Wojciechowski[12] Illinois Falsely claimed he was someone else Unknown
Colleen A. Kirchoff[12] Illinois Falsely claimed she was someone else Unknown
Danielle Elaine Dooner[13] Pennsylvania Tried to vote for her deceased mother Republican
Melissa Ann Fisher[13] Pennsylvania Tried to vote for her deceased mother Democrat
Manikomal M. Kehler[14] Maine Voted once by mail and once on election day Unknown
Alyssa Dau[14] Maine Voted an absentee ballot in the name of a former college roommate Unknown
Christine Daikawa[15] Wisconsin Cast a ballot for her deceased partner Unknown
Brian Shilling[16] New Jersey Forged a signature Unknown
Frederick Gattuso, a former Republican mayoral candidate[17] New Jersey Voted twice with different names Presumably Republican
Steven Solop[18] New Jersey Voted in two different districts using his business address for one Unknown
Bruce Bartman[19] Pennsylvania Voted his mother's ballot though she had been dead since 2008 Trump
Paul Parana New Jersey Voted his daughter's ballot Example
Barry Morphew[20] Colorado Voted his deceased wife's ballot, then was charged with her murder Trump

An unanswered question[edit]

Republicans who allege that Democrats benefit from voter fraud have never answered a simple question: if voter fraud is so easy, why wouldn't Republicans do it just as often as Democrats? Put another way, if Democrats could really get away with busing voters from Massachusetts into New Hampshire, why wouldn't Republicans bus voters from Alabama into Florida and Georgia, from Utah into Nevada and Arizona, or from Indiana into Michigan? If millions of undocumented immigrants are registering and voting in the Southwest, why don't millions of conservatives register under false names and vote twice?

See also[edit]

External links[edit]


  2. Goodman, Jack, et al. “US Election 2020: The 'Dead Voters' in Michigan Who Are Still Alive.” BBC News, BBC, 14 Nov. 2020, Retrieved 17 Nov. 2020
  3. Lajka, Arijeta. “Election Breathes New Life into False 'Dead Voter' Claims.” AP NEWS, Associated Press, 10 Nov. 2020, Retrieved 17 Nov. 2020
  4. BBC Reality Check Team “US Election 2020: Five Viral Vote Claims Fact-Checked.” BBC News, BBC, 9 Nov. 2020, Retrieved 17 Nov. 2020
  5. Toropin, Konstantin, et al. “Claims That Dead People Voted Went Viral. These Are the Facts.” CNN Business, 8 Nov. 2020, Retrieved 17 Nov. 2020
  6. [ Holroyd, Matthew. “Debunked: Dead Voters' Ballots Not Evidence of Major Election Fraud.” Euronews, 12 Nov. 2020, Retrieved 17 Nov. 2020]
  7. Associated Press. “‘Some States Count Ballots If Voter Dies before Election Day.’”, NBCUniversal News Group, 20 Oct. 2020, Retrieved 17 Nov. 2020
  8. Trump has longstanding history of calling elections 'rigged' if he doesn’t like the results by Terrance Smith (November 11, 2020, 2:24 AM) ABC News.
  9. 9.0 9.1 The making of a myth: Russell J. Ramsland Jr. sold everything from Tex-Mex food to light-therapy technology. Then he sold the story that the 2020 election was stolen from Trump. by Emma Brown et al. (May 9, 2021) The Washington Post.
  10. Dominion Voting Systems Files $1.6 Billion Defamation Lawsuit Against Fox News by Merrit Kennedy & Bill Chappell (Updated March 26, 202111:14 AM ET) NPR.
  11. 11.0 11.1 Despite GOP rhetoric, there have been fewer than two dozen charged cases of voter fraud since the election: One person has faced charges for every 10 million votes cast by Philip Bump (May 4, 2021 at 7:29 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 12.4 5 charged with election fraud in DuPage County by Susan Sarkauskas (3/9/2021 6:28 PM) Daily Herald (archived from March 10, 2021).
  13. 13.0 13.1 2 Bucks County women face voter-fraud charges in separate incidents by Robert Moran (Updated Apr 30, 2021) The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  14. 14.0 14.1 [ 2nd UMaine student charged with voter fraud (April 29, 2021) AP.
  15. A Cedarburg woman charged with voter fraud appears in court by Bruce Vielmetti (Published 10:15 a.m. CT Dec. 14, 2020; Updated 4:57 p.m. CT Dec. 14, 2020) Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
  16. Hunterdon man charged with voter fraud by Nick Muscavage (Published 2:49 p.m. ET Nov. 7, 2020; Updated 1:14 p.m. ET Nov. 9, 2020) My Central Jersey.
  17. Former Republican mayoral candidate in NJ charged with voter fraud by Suzanne Russell (Published 6:05 p.m. ET Jan. 28, 2021; Updated 5:09 p.m. ET Jan. 29, 2021) My Central Jersey.
  18. Highlands Businessman Charged with Voter Fraud (09 April 2021) Atlantic Highlands Herald .
  19. Pennsylvania man admits he voted for Trump with his dead mom's name: 'I listened to too much propaganda' by Jaclyn Peiser (May 4, 2021 at 3:06 a.m. PDT) The Washington Post.
  20. Man charged with wife’s murder illegally cast her ballot for Trump, officials say: ‘I just thought, give him another vote’ by Hannah Knowles & Paulina Villegas (May 15, 2021 at 6:38 p.m. PDT) The Washington Post.