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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.