18 Apr 2022


The Voter Fraud Myth: True or False?

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Free and fair voting is the right of every citizen who qualifies to be a voter. It is the process through which the people choose their political leaders, hence choosing their government. It is therefore, important that the integrity of every election is protected. This is through ensuring people vote freely, without facing harassment or without there being cases of fraud in the election. Following the recent elections in the USA, there have been claims of voter fraud. This has also happened in previous elections where some vying candidates have come out, making claims of voter fraud. Usually, voter fraud angers citizens, most especially when the candidates they vote for don’t win, as they feel that the elections were unfair. This can cause discord and political instability in a country. The real question pertains as to whether the voter fraud myth is true, or is it just a myth. 

A lot of studies have been done about the validity of the voter fraud claims from all previous elections. From the statistics, it is clear that the voter fraud myth is false. Analyses collected by the Brennan center shows that cases of voter fraud are very rare, if any. This research has been conducted for years, and it shows that allegations of ineligible non-citizens voting in large number are baseless and untrue. In the Brennan Center’s half yearly report, they documented that most incidents, concerning the issue of voter fraud, are as a result of simple mistakes such as clerical errors or bad matching processes (Minnite 2010). This shows that even in cases where voter fraud is reported, it is as a result of systemic failures and not of the conspiracy to rig the elections like some politicians claim. This report further states that the voter fraud rate is somewhere between 0.000245 to 0.0003 percent. This shows exactly how rare it is. 

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In 2014, a comprehensive study, conducted and published in The Washington Post , showed that there have been only 31 credible instances of voter fraud from the year 2000 to 2014 (Levitt 2014). This was out of one billion cast votes. The study added that even this number may have been exaggerated as it did not only include cases of those people convicted or prosecuted but also cases of mere credible claims that might not have been dealt with as per the law. In 2007, a task force by the name of the Department of Justice was formed by George W Bush, who was the American president as at then. He convened this task force in order to ensure that free and fair elections were conducted all over the United States in the coming years. The task force was supposed to look for cases of voter fraud between the year 2002 and 2004 in the general elections. The Department was unable to find any instances of voter fraud. This was the source of quite some conflict, pitting some political leaders against the U.S. Attorney. These political leaders were not happy with the department’s findings and still claimed that there had been cases of voter fraud that had gone unpunished. This led to the firing of seven U.S attorneys. Some Republican prosecutors were also dismissed for having refused to prosecute non-existent cases of voter fraud. 

Other studies, carried out even as recently as 2016, prove that voter fraud is just but a myth. One of these studies was done at Arizona State University, and it followed another one that had been conducted in 2012 at the same institution. The two studies showed the same results of negligible cases of voter fraud. The first study had shown about ten cases of voter fraud between the year 2000 and 2012 while the other one found zero cases of people successfully prosecuted for voter fraud. This shows just how false the myth is especially considering the fact that the study between 2012-2106 was conducted in states where politicians argued that voter fraud is very rampant. Additionally, a review of the 2016 general election found only four cases of voter fraud. This is not enough to have affected a whole election process. As for cases of double voting, a working paper in 2016 concluded that only 0.02% can be found of this. This was the upper limit figure and the paper mentioned that the rate could be much lower considering the fact that many of the double voting cases were as a result of counting or measurement errors. 

Many court rulings have also proved that the voter fraud myth is not true. In a court case dealing with the Texas photo id voters’ law, only two convictions of voter impersonation were noted out of 20 million votes cast in a period of ten years. The Supreme Court, also dealing with voter ID laws, albeit in Indiana, noted that no evidence of voter impersonation had been found in the history of the state. This was the Crawford case. During this case, two judges expressed their regrets on the matter of the passage of the ID law as they agreed that the law had become a tool for the suppression of voting rights, rather than for the prevention of fraud. The Fifth Circuit also struck down the ID law in North Carolina, claiming that the law had been the root cause of racial discrimination during the voting process and hence, did not guarantee free and fair elections (Thernstrom 2009). The court noted that there was no single person in the state of North Carolina that had been convicted of voter fraud and therefore it was just a myth. 

I recommend that change takes place because the voter myth fraud is causing low voter turnout in most states. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, which has been tasked with the duty of voter protection, has reported of calls and complaints by voters that they are being harassed. Due to the ongoing claims of voter fraud by many politicians, many states have adopted strict voter registration policies. Pennsylvania, for example, is one of these states. The voter ID law was particularly found to result to low voter turnout as it imposes a heavy and unreasonable burden on citizen’s right to vote. The photo id required for voting in states such as Texas was found to result to the discrimination of black and Latino voters. In Milwaukee, voter turnout dropped by 51000 as a result of strict photo id laws (Berman 2016). The imposition of photo ids during is seen as a way of fighting against voter fraud but instead, has diminished the possibility of free and fair elections. 

Research shows that voters feel harassed by the photo id law during the voting process and therefore, would usually much rather stay at home. Such unreasonable voter laws should be struck down and more reasonable ones be implemented if need be. A photo id should only be required during voter registration and not all the way through till the voting process. In Pennsylvania, the photo id law was found to be unreasonable and was therefore, struck down in 2014. This led to increased voter registration in the years that followed. 

The root of the problem in most states lies in the myth itself. This is because the myth is used to justify rules that restrict free and equal voting rights. In order to solve the problem of poor elections in any country, the answer lies in doing away with the myth. Most countries have done a lot to ensure that the myth is done away with. Task forces have been employed and extensive research has been done to try and look for cases of voter fraud. The research has played a great role in assuring the citizens that they are participating in free and fair elections. The problem lies with corrupt politicians who try to distract the people by making baseless claims. Strict actions should be taken against such leaders and they should be given a forum for which they can prove if their claims are true. Failure to this, they should be prosecuted for trying to disrupt free and fair elections for all. 

It is important that the integrity of all elections be protected. Politicians must, however, be careful that their efforts to do this do not undermine the possibility of the execution of free and fair elections. Study after study of voter fraud show that it is very rare and almost non-existent. Although voter fraud is unacceptable, it is important that politicians find actual solutions to election problems instead of imposing heavy policies that may prevent voters from casting their votes. The voter fraud myth has greatly undermined ballot box access on the part of voters as well as voter turnout. Politicians should work on ensuring that the voter registration process is transparent and this will ensure that the very few cases of voter impersonation are dealt with. It should be recognized that the false allegations of voter fraud are politically motivated in effort to distract citizens from the real problems in most elections. Rules should be simplified and poll workers should be well trained in order to handle the voters and to help people cast votes all over the state. Voting rights and voting access all over states should also be insisted on and expanded. 


Berman, A. (2016). Give us the ballot : the modern struggle for voting rights in America . New York: Picador/Farrar, Straus and Giroux.

Levitt, J. L. J. (2014, August 6). A comprehensive investigation of voter impersonation finds 31 credible incidents out of one billion ballots cast. Washington Post . Retrieved from https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2014/08/06/a-comprehensive-investigation-of-voter-impersonation-finds-31-credible-incidents-out-of-one-billion-

Minnite, L. (2010). The myth of voter fraud . Ithaca, N.Y: Cornell University Press.

Thernstrom, A. (2009). Voting rights--and wrongs : the elusive quest for racially fair elections . Washington, D.C. Blue Ridge Summit, PA: AEI Press Distributed to the trade by National Book Network.

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