Skip Navigation

Trump Says Election Will Be “Rigged” — Facts Say Otherwise

Research shows you are more likely to be struck by lightning than commit in-person voter impersonation fraud. In rolling back strict voting laws, courts found little evidence of fraud — and substantial evidence of disenfranchisement.

August 3, 2016

Yester­day, Repub­lican pres­id­en­tial nominee Donald Trump said the elec­tion would be “rigged,” citing a string of court decisions block­ing or loosen­ing restrict­ive voting laws. His campaign also said there will be “massive fraud” this Novem­ber.

But Bren­nan Center stud­ies show other­wise. You are more likely to be struck by light­ning than commit in-person voter imper­son­a­tion, our analysis found. Other research confirms our find­ings. A compre­hens­ive analysis from The Wash­ing­ton Post found 31 cred­ible instances of voter fraud between 2000 and 2014 — out of 1 billion ballots cast. An Arizona State Univer­sity study showed similar results.

“When courts across the coun­try step up to protect voting rights, that hardly amounts to ‘rig­ging’ an elec­tion,” said Bren­nan Center Pres­id­ent Michael Wald­man, author of The Fight to Vote, a history of the struggle over voting in Amer­ica. “The notion of massive fraud is a perni­cious myth. It’s irre­spons­ible to peddle it if the goal is to pre-under­mine an elec­tion outcome. Mark Twain said, ‘A lie can travel half way around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes.’ And that was before Twit­ter.”

In recent weeks, courts have struck down or rolled back voting restric­tions in five states — Kansas, North Caro­lina, North Dakota, Texas, and Wiscon­sin. Judges looked at the evid­ence in those cases and found little evid­ence of fraud. Instead, courts ruled, the states passed restrict­ive laws with surgical preci­sion to exclude certain voters, includ­ing minor­it­ies, students, and the elderly.

Over­all, 15 states will have new voting restric­tions in place for the first time in a high-turnout pres­id­en­tial elec­tion this year, accord­ing to an updated Bren­nan Center analysis.

For more inform­a­tion or to sched­ule an inter­view with a Bren­nan Center expert, please contact Rebecca Autrey at or 646–292–8316.