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It’s Official: The Election Was Secure

These government officials, judges, and elected leaders, overwhelmingly Republican, have publicly acknowledged confidence in the November election.

Published: December 11, 2020
Poll worker looks at ballot
Irfan Khan/Getty

Elec­tion offi­cials and elec­tion secur­ity experts have long been clear: voter fraud is extraordin­ar­ily rare and our system has strong checks in place to protect the integ­rity of our voting process. These are the facts. But the facts have not stopped bad actors from trot­ting out base­less claims of “systemic voter fraud” to suppress votes and under­mine trust in our demo­cracy for polit­ical gain.

By all meas­ures, the 2020 general elec­tion was one of the most secure elec­tions in our history. Voters turned out in record numbers to cast their ballots by mail and in person, and the votes were coun­ted in a timely manner. This success, however, did not dissuade Pres­id­ent Trump and his enablers from loudly claim­ing fraud when the race did not go his way. In a brazen attempt to over­turn the results, he unleashed an onslaught of outland­ish claims about wide­spread fraud in the elec­tion, shame­lessly target­ing the votes of Black and Latino citizens in several cities. The sever­ity of the alleg­a­tions by the pres­id­ent and his allies, however false, has elicited a resound­ing rebuke of the myth of wide­spread voter fraud from offi­cials at every level of govern­ment. And today, the Supreme Court all but ended the legal fight to over­turn the elec­tion when it rejec­ted Texas’s lawsuit to throw out the pres­id­en­tial elec­tion results in four battle­ground states that Pres­id­ent Trump lost.

Demo­cratic offi­cials and civil rights lead­ers have been outspoken about the strength of our elec­tion systems and their trust in our elec­tion offi­cials. And despite the alarm­ing number of Repub­lic­ans enabling Trump’s attempts to subvert demo­cracy, there is a grow­ing bipar­tisan coali­tion of lead­ers united behind the facts. What follows is a collec­tion of defin­it­ive state­ments reject­ing the myth of wide­spread voter fraud from federal agen­cies; the courts, includ­ing Trump-appoin­ted judges; and Repub­lican elec­tion offi­cials and elec­ted offi­cials. 

Federal Agen­cies

The nation’s top intel­li­gence and law enforce­ment agen­cies have confirmed that there is no evid­ence of signi­fic­ant voter fraud in Amer­ican elec­tions and that the 2020 elec­tion was secure.

Federal Bureau of Invest­ig­a­tion (FBI)

  • “We have not seen, histor­ic­ally, any kind of coordin­ated national voter fraud effort in a major elec­tion, whether it’s by mail or other­wise.” – Chris­topher Wray, FBI Director, Septem­ber 24, 2020, hear­ing before the U.S. Senate Commit­tee on Home­land Secur­ity and Govern­ment Affairs. (Director Wray was appoin­ted by Pres­id­ent Trump in 2017.)

Depart­ment of Home­land Secur­ity – Cyber­se­cur­ity and Infra­struc­ture Secur­ity Agency (CISA)

  • “The Novem­ber 3rd elec­tion was the most secure in Amer­ican history . . . . There is no evid­ence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes, or was in any way comprom­ised . . . While we know there are many unfoun­ded claims and oppor­tun­it­ies for misin­form­a­tion about the process of our elec­tions . . . we have the utmost confid­ence in the secur­ity and integ­rity of our elec­tions, and you should too.” – Joint State­ment by CISA, the Elec­tion Infra­struc­ture Govern­ment Coordin­at­ing Coun­cil (GCC), and the Elec­tion Infra­struc­ture Sector Coordin­at­ing Coun­cil (SCC), Novem­ber 12, 2020.
  • “[Elec­tion] Day was quiet. There was no indic­a­tion or evid­ence that there was any evid­ence of hack­ing or comprom­ise of elec­tion systems on, before, or after Novem­ber 3 . . . . We did a good job. I would do it one thou­sand times over.” – Chris Krebs, Former Director of CISA, Novem­ber 29, 2020.

Shortly after releas­ing the joint state­ment, Chris Krebs was fired from his posi­tion as director of CISA. His firing was directly linked to the joint state­ment in a tweet by Pres­id­ent Trump. In a 60 Minutes inter­view, Krebs reflec­ted on his agency’s work and described the Trump team’s claims of fraud as attempts to “under­mine confid­ence in the elec­tion, to confuse people, to scare people . . . ”

Depart­ment of Justice (DOJ)

  • “To date, [DOJ invest­ig­at­ors] have not seen fraud on a scale that could have effected a differ­ent outcome in the elec­tion.” – Attor­ney General William Barr, Decem­ber 1, 2020, announce­ment.

This conclu­sion was espe­cially notable in light of Attor­ney General Barr’s extraordin­ary efforts to support Pres­id­ent Trump’s ludicrous fraud alleg­a­tions. In a break from long-stand­ing DOJ policy, Barr announced in a Novem­ber 9 memor­andum that federal prosec­utors were author­ized to invest­ig­ate some elec­tion fraud cases before the results of the elec­tion were certi­fied, and noted that there may be irreg­u­lar­it­ies that “could poten­tially impact the outcome of a federal elec­tion in an indi­vidual State.” The direct­ive was roundly criti­cized by many former DOJ offi­cials and elec­tions experts. 

Richard Pilger, head of the DOJ’s Elec­tion Crimes branch, respon­ded to the move by step­ping down from his posi­tion. Twenty-three Demo­cratic attor­neys general signed a letter express­ing confid­ence that “any such invest­ig­a­tions will not succeed in over­turn­ing the elec­tion’s outcome,” but criti­ciz­ing the move for exact­ing “the terrible cost of under­min­ing trust in the demo­cratic insti­tu­tions on which this coun­try depends.” In another crit­ical letter, 16 U.S. attor­neys who track elec­tion malfeas­ance noted that the “policy change was not based in fact” and confirmed that in their juris­dic­tions there was no evid­ence of substan­tial elec­tion irreg­u­lar­it­ies.

U.S. Elec­tion Assist­ance Commis­sion

  • “Time and time again, when the rubber hits the road, there’s no evid­ence — whether that’s in court cases, whether that’s in the pres­id­en­tial commis­sion that was created in 2017 to find the alleged non-citizens fraud after the 2016 elec­tion that cost, in his mind, the pres­id­ent the popu­lar vote, but found noth­ing and disban­ded in embar­rass­ment, or academic stud­ies. We never see evid­ence of wide­spread voter fraud. And there’s no indic­at­ors that 2020 will be differ­ent in that regard.” – Benjamin Hovland, Commis­sioner of the U.S. Elec­tion Assist­ance Commis­sion, Busi­ness InsiderNovem­ber 12, 2020

The Courts

The courts have emphat­ic­ally rejec­ted claims of wide­spread elec­tion fraud and irreg­u­lar­it­ies from Pres­id­ent Trump and his allies. Despite bring­ing roughly 50 postelec­tion lawsuits at the time of this writ­ing, Trump and his allies have failed to discount a signi­fic­ant number of votes, block the certi­fic­a­tion of results, or over­turn the results of any race.

In a number of these cases, courts have force­fully rebuked the lawyers for their outland­ish claims of voter fraud, egre­gious lack of evid­ence, and attemp­ted misuse of the judi­ciary.

United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania

  • “This claim, like Franken­stein’s Monster, has been haphaz­ardly stitched together . . . . This Court has been presen­ted with strained legal argu­ments without merit and spec­u­lat­ive accus­a­tions, unpled in the oper­at­ive complaint and unsup­por­ted by evid­ence. In the United States of Amer­ica, this cannot justify the disen­fran­chise­ment of a single voter, let alone all the voters of its sixth most popu­lated state. Our people, laws, and insti­tu­tions demand more.” – Judge Matthew Brann, reject­ing an attempt by Trump campaign to throw out all the votes in Pennsylvania based in part on unsub­stan­ti­ated insinu­ations of voter fraud, in Donald J. Trump for Pres­id­ent v. Boock­var, Novem­ber 21, 2020

Third Judi­cial Circuit Court of Michigan

  • “‘Plaintiffs’ inter­pret­a­tion of events is incor­rect and not cred­ible.” – Chief Justice Timothy Kenny, reject­ing attempt by Trump allies to block the certi­fic­a­tion of the vote in Wayne County, in Cost­antino v. City of Detroit, Novem­ber 13, 2020

United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

  • “Free, fair elec­tions are the lifeblood of our demo­cracy. Charges of unfair­ness are seri­ous. But call­ing an elec­tion unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific alleg­a­tions and then proof. We have neither here.” – Trump-appoin­ted Judge Stephanos Bibas, reject­ing motion to block certi­fic­a­tion of elec­tion results in Pennsylvania in an unan­im­ous opin­ion, in Donald J. Trump for Pres­id­ent, Inc. v. Secret­ary of the Common­wealth, Novem­ber 27, 2020

Wiscon­sin Supreme Court

  • “At stake, in some meas­ure, is faith in our system of free and fair elec­tions, a feature cent­ral to the endur­ing strength of our consti­tu­tional repub­lic. It can be easy to blithely move on to the next case with a peti­tion so obvi­ously lack­ing, but this is sober­ing. The relief being sought by the peti­tion­ers is the most dramatic invoc­a­tion of judi­cial power I have ever seen. Judi­cial acqui­es­cence to such entreat­ies built on so flimsy a found­a­tion would do indelible damage to every future elec­tion.” – Judge Brian Haged­orn (concur­ring), reject­ing request to nullify Wiscon­sin’s pres­id­en­tial results, allow the state legis­lature to appoint its own slate of elect­ors, and compel the governor to approve said elect­ors, in Wiscon­sin Voters Alli­ance v. Wiscon­sin Elec­tion Commis­sion, Decem­ber 4, 2020

Elec­tion Offi­cials and Experts

New York Times Survey of Elec­tion Offi­cials

  • “Elec­tion offi­cials in dozens of states repres­ent­ing both polit­ical parties said that there was no evid­ence that fraud or other irreg­u­lar­it­ies played a role in the outcome of the pres­id­en­tial race . . . ” – New York Times, Novem­ber 10, 2020 

    The Times contac­ted the offices of the top elec­tion offi­cials in every state. Notably, all 29 Repub­lican secret­ar­ies of state were surveyed, most respond­ing directly to the Times. None repor­ted any major voting issues, refus­ing to back up Trump’s portrait of a fraud­u­lent elec­tion.

59 Elec­tion Secur­ity Experts and Computer Scient­ists

  • “Anyone assert­ing that a U.S. elec­tion was ‘rigged’ is making an extraordin­ary claim, one that must be suppor­ted by persuas­ive and veri­fi­able evid­ence . . .” In the absence of such evid­ence, they added, it is “simply spec­u­la­tion.” – Letter from 59 of the coun­try’s top elec­tion secur­ity experts and computer scient­ists, Novem­ber 16, 2020
  • “We are aware of alarm­ing asser­tions being made that the 2020 elec­tion was ‘rigged’ by exploit­ing tech­nical vulner­ab­il­it­ies. However, in every case of which we are aware, these claims either have been unsub­stan­ti­ated or are tech­nic­ally inco­her­ent.” Letter from 59 of the coun­try’s top elec­tion secur­ity experts and computer scient­ists, Novem­ber 16, 2020

Gabriel Ster­ling (R), Geor­gi­a’s Voting Systems Imple­ment­a­tion Manager

  • [Claims of voter fraud] are “hoaxes and nonsense. Don’t buy into these things. Find trus­ted sources.” – Los Angeles Times, Novem­ber 9, 2020
  • “It has to stop,” Ster­ling said, react­ing to Trump’s sustained assaults on Geor­gi­a’s elec­tion process and result­ing viol­ent threats to local elec­tion offi­cials. – New York Times, Decem­ber 1, 2020

Scott Schwab (R), Kansas Secret­ary of State

  • “Kansas did not exper­i­ence any wide­spread, system­atic issues with voter fraud, intim­id­a­tion, irreg­u­lar­it­ies or voting prob­lems . . . . We are very pleased with how the elec­tion has gone up to this point.” – Spokes­wo­man for Secret­ary Schwab, New York Times, Novem­ber 10, 2020

Kim Wyman (R), Wash­ing­ton Secret­ary of State

  • Of attempts by Repub­lican candid­ates to raise accus­a­tions of fraud, Wyman said “it’s just throw­ing grass at the fence at this point . . . see what sticks.” – New York TimesNovem­ber 10, 2020

Lisa Posthu­mus Lyons (R), Kent County Clerk

  • “We’ve just got a lot of checks and balances and trans­par­ency here in Michigan, and in Kent County we take that very seri­ously. I am 100% confid­ent in the results in Kent County, and I’m confid­ent that our canvass, once it’s all concluded, will valid­ate that.” – USA TodayNovem­ber 14, 2020

Elec­ted Offi­cials and Polit­ical Oper­at­ives

While the courts, federal agen­cies, and elec­tion offi­cials have roundly rejec­ted claims of wide­spread voter fraud, perhaps the sharpest — albeit surpris­ing — rebukes have come from key elec­ted offi­cials and polit­ical oper­at­ives within the Repub­lican party.

Ben Gins­berg, Veteran Repub­lican Party Elec­tion Lawyer

  • “The truth is that after decades of look­ing for illegal voting, there’s no proof of wide­spread fraud. At most, there are isol­ated incid­ents — by both Demo­crats and Repub­lic­ans. Elec­tions are not rigged.” – Wash­ing­ton Post, Septem­ber 8, 2020
  • “Proof of system­atic fraud has become the Loch Ness Monster of the Repub­lican Party. People have spent a lot of time look­ing for it, but it does­n’t exist.” – Wash­ing­ton PostNovem­ber 1, 2020
  • “As he confronts losing, Trump has devoted his campaign and the Repub­lican Party to this myth of voter fraud . . . . Perhaps this was the plan all along . . . disen­fran­chising enough voters has become key to his reelec­tion strategy.” – Wash­ing­ton PostNovem­ber 1, 2020 (Gins­berg has prac­ticed elec­tion law for 38 years.)

Karl Rove, Former Senior Adviser and Deputy Chief of Staff to George W. Bush

  • “The pres­id­ent’s efforts are unlikely to move a single state from Mr. Biden’s column, and certainly they’re not enough to change the final outcome.” – Wall Street JournalNovem­ber 11, 2020
  • “Mr. Trump must prove systemic fraud, with illegal votes in the tens of thou­sands. There is no evid­ence of that so far.” – Wall Street JournalNovem­ber 11, 2020

Letter from 31 Former Repub­lican Members of Congress

  • “As former Repub­lican Members of Congress who swore an oath to the Consti­tu­tion, we believe the state­ments by Pres­id­ent Trump alleging fraud in the elec­tion are efforts to under­mine the legit­im­acy of the elec­tion and are unac­cept­able.” – The Hill, Novem­ber 9, 2020

Will Hurd (R), Repres­ent­at­ive of Texas’s 23rd District

  • “A sitting pres­id­ent under­min­ing our polit­ical process & ques­tion­ing the legal­ity of the voices of count­less Amer­ic­ans without evid­ence is not only danger­ous & wrong, it under­mines the very found­a­tion this nation was built upon. Every Amer­ican should have his or her vote coun­ted." – The HillNovem­ber 5, 2020

Adam Kinzinger (R), Repub­lican Repres­ent­at­ive of Illinois’s 16th District

  • “STOP spread­ing debunked misin­form­a­tion…This is getting insane” – Twit­ter, Novem­ber 5, 2020

Mary­land Governor Larry Hogan (R)

  • “There is no defense for the pres­id­ent’s comments under­min­ing our Demo­cratic process . . . . No elec­tion or person is more import­ant than our Demo­cracy.” – Twit­ter, Novem­ber 5, 2020

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst (R)

  • “We believe in honesty. We believe in the integ­rity of our elec­tion system, which is why I do believe that if there is fraud out there, it should be brought to the court’s atten­tion and the proof should be brought forward. I think all of us agree on that. But to insinu­ate that Repub­lican and Demo­cratic candid­ates paid to throw off this elec­tion I think is abso­lutely outrageous . . . to have that accus­a­tion just offhan­dedly thrown out there just to confuse our voters across the United States, I think that is abso­lutely wrong.” – Fox News Radio, Novem­ber 19, 2020

Utah Senator Mitt Romney (R)

  • “[The pres­id­ent] is wrong to say that the elec­tion was rigged, corrupt or stolen — doing so damages the cause of free­dom here and around the world, weak­ens the insti­tu­tions that lie at the found­a­tion of the Repub­lic, and reck­lessly inflames destruc­tion and danger­ous passions.” – Twit­ter, Novem­ber 6, 2020
  • “Having failed to make even a plaus­ible case of wide­spread fraud or conspir­acy before any court of law, the Pres­id­ent has now resor­ted to overt pres­sure on state and local offi­cials to subvert the will of the people and over­turn the elec­tion. It is diffi­cult to imagine a worse, more undemo­cratic action by a sitting Amer­ican Pres­id­ent.” – Twit­ter, Novem­ber 19, 2020

Louisi­ana Senator Bill Cassidy (R)

  • “Pres­id­ent Trump’s legal team has not presen­ted evid­ence of the massive fraud which would have had to be present to over­turn the elec­tion. I voted for Pres­id­ent Trump but Joe Biden won.” – Twit­ter, Novem­ber 23, 2020

Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey (R)

  • After it emerged that Trump called Pennsylvani­a’s Repub­lican state House speaker seek­ing help to reverse his loss in the state, Sen. Toomey told the Phil­adelphia Inquirer: “It’s completely unac­cept­able and it’s not going to work and the pres­id­ent should give up trying to get legis­latures to over­turn the results of the elec­tions in their respect­ive states.”
  • Trump’s frus­tra­tion with Demo­crats “does­n’t change the oblig­a­tion of the pres­id­ent’s campaign to acknow­ledge that they have not been able to demon­strate that there’s been fraud, not on any signi­fic­ant scale.” – Phil­adelphia InquirerDecem­ber 8, 2020
  • “That has been determ­ined by elec­tion offi­cials, that has been determ­ined by federal judges, that’s been determ­ined by appel­late court judges. That’s the opin­ion of the attor­ney general, who is a Donald Trump appointee. So in my view the outcome of the elec­tion is clear and that is that Joe Biden won the elec­tion.” – Phil­adelphia InquirerDecem­ber 8, 2020