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Voter Fraud

December 5, 2021
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WRITTEN BY Dr. Tomy Granzier-Nakajima

Executive Summary 

Electoral fraud refers to concerted attempts to unlawfully alter the results of an election. Voter fraud refers to a subset of electoral fraud conducted by individual voters. Typical categories of voter fraud claims include: 1) voter impersonation, where an individual attempts to impersonate a registered voter or deceased person; and 2) double voting, when a voter attempts to vote multiple times. Studies that estimate the prevalence of voter impersonation, double voting, and other claims of voter fraud find that rates of voter fraud are extremely low.  

Highlights 

  • There is no evidence for widespread voter fraud in U.S. elections, including in recent national elections.
  • The psychological effects of winning an election and messaging by political leaders may alter voter confidence and public perceptions of voter fraud beyond its demonstrated occurrence.
  • There is no evidence that voter ID laws cause a significant decrease in rates of voter fraud, or that voter ID laws increase voter confidence in elections.

Limitations 

  • Given the decentralized nature of U.S. elections, no single data source contains the information needed to study the rates of all types of voter fraud at the same time.
  • Inconsistent quality of voter registration and vote record data from different states can affect the quality and size of usable data sets.
  • More studies may be needed to determine the effects of voter ID laws on voter turnout.
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