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In Their Own Words: Officials Refuting False Claims of Voter Fraud

President Trump recently revived his false claim of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 election, and called for an investigation into the issue. Elected officials, election administrators, experts, and leaders from across the political spectrum have spoken out against these untrue allegations.

Published: April 13, 2017

Pres­id­ent Trump recently revived his false claim of wide­spread voter fraud in the 2016 elec­tion, and called for an invest­ig­a­tion into the issue. Claims of elec­tion “rigging” and fraud­u­lent voting have been debunked in study after study. Elec­ted offi­cials, elec­tion admin­is­trat­ors, experts, and lead­ers from across the polit­ical spec­trum have spoken out against these untrue alleg­a­tions. 

Since Pres­id­ent Trump has revived his false claims of wide­spread voter fraud and called for an invest­ig­a­tion, fellow Repub­lic­ans are among those refut­ing this alleg­a­tion: 

Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), in response to Trump’s claims that millions of indi­vidu­als illeg­ally voted, said: “I’ve seen no evid­ence to that effect. I’ve made that very, very clear…”

Senator Lind­sey Graham (R-SC) said: “… I am begging the pres­id­ent, share with us the inform­a­tion you have about this or please stop saying it… As a matter of fact, I’d like you do more than stop saying it, I’d like you to come forward and say, ‘Hav­ing looked at it, I am confid­ent the elec­tion was fair and accur­ate and people who voted voted legally.’ Cause if he does­n’t do that, this is going to under­mine his abil­ity to govern this coun­try.” He added: “I would urge the pres­id­ent to knock this off; this is the greatest demo­cracy on earth, we’re the leader of the free world, and people are going to start doubt­ing you as a person if you keep making accus­a­tions against our elect­oral system without justi­fic­a­tion…”

Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ), in response to Trump’s claims, said: “That does­n’t do anybody any good. That does­n’t help him. That does­n’t help any of us…”

Congress­man Jason Chaf­fetz (R-UT) said: “I don’t see the evid­ence [of elec­tion fraud].”

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) said: “There’s no evid­ence of [voter fraud] and I think that those who allege that have to come up with some substan­ti­ation of the claim…”

Former Arkan­sas Governor Mike Hucka­beea Repub­lican, said: “I have no evid­ence what­so­ever, and I don’t know that anyone does, that there were that many illegal people who voted…”

Senator John Thune (R-SD), on the topic of voter fraud, said: “I haven’t seen evid­ence to that effect.” 

Congress­man Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) said Trump’s claim of mass voter fraud “under­mines the idea of an elec­tion.”

Pres­id­ent of the New Hamp­shire Senate Chuck Morse, a Repub­lican, said: “I have been assured by the secret­ary of state that our elec­tions are good and clean.”

 

In addi­tion, elec­tion offi­cials have also pushed back against this claim: 

U.S. Elec­tion Assist­ance Commis­sion Chair Matthew Master­son, a Repub­lican, when asked if he thought the 2016 elec­tion was rigged, said: “No. The process had integ­rity. It was extremely well admin­istered. And in the end, the people’s voice was heard and the process served voters well.” He added: “[Voters] should know one fact: This elec­tion – this elec­tion process, this vote, the voting machines – were not accessed, were not hacked. The process was secure.”

Ohio Secret­ary of State Jon Husted, a Repub­lican, in response to Trump’s tweet, tweeted: “We conduc­ted a review 4 years ago in Ohio & already have a statewide review of 2016 elec­tion under­way. Easy to vote, hard to cheat #Ohio

Louisi­ana Secret­ary of State Tom Schedler, a Repub­lican, in a state­ment, said: “Louisi­ana did not have any wide­spread irreg­u­lar­it­ies or alleg­a­tions of fraud during the 2016 Pres­id­en­tial Elec­tion Cycle.”

Cali­for­nia Secret­ary of State Alex Padilla, a Demo­crat, released a series of tweets condemning Trump’s fraud alleg­a­tions:

○ Jan 23: “Trump contin­ues to falsely allege millions of fraud­u­lent votes. Still no proof. Not an #altern­at­ive­fact, just a #lie. #Defend­Demo­cracy” 

○ Jan 24: “#Trump is danger­ously attack­ing the legit­im­acy of free and fair elec­tions and taking a jack­ham­mer to the found­a­tion of our demo­cracy.”

○ Jan 25: “@Real­Don­aldTrump should invest­ig­ate Russian inter­fer­ence in our elec­tions, not fake claims of voter fraud inten­ded to suppress voting rights”

New Mexico Secret­ary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver, a Demo­crat, said that the “alleg­a­tions are simply not true” and that she was “extremely concerned that Pres­id­ent Trump is push­ing these voter fraud lies to justify future efforts making it harder to vote.”

Dean Logan, the Los Angeles County voter regis­trar, when asked about non-citizens trying to vote, said: “I’ve never seen any incid­ent of that… there are severe penal­ties. It’s a felony.”

Color­ado Secret­ary of State Wayne Willi­ams, a Repub­lican, in a state­ment, said: “Voter fraud is rare…”

Missis­sippi Secret­ary of State Delbert Hose­mann, a Repub­lican, said: “We don’t have [voter fraud]… We think we do it right.”

Nevada Secret­ary of State Barbara Cegavske, a Repub­lican, said: “There is no evid­ence of voters illeg­ally cast­ing ballots at the most recent elec­tion in Nevada…”

Rhode Island Secret­ary of State Nellie Gorbea, a Demo­crat, said: “It is outrageous that the Pres­id­ent contin­ues to make unsub­stan­ti­ated claims about alleged wide­spread voter fraud.”

Wash­ing­ton Secret­ary of State Kim Wyman, a Repub­lican, said: “…as I stated when [Trump] raised this issue last fall, I am confid­ent the elec­tion system in Wash­ing­ton state is secure and prevents illegal voting.” 

Oregon Secret­ary of State Dennis Richard­son, a Repub­lican, wrote in a letter to Trump: “I’m pleased to report that in Oregon we have reviewed the processes and we are confid­ent that voter fraud in last Novem­ber’s elec­tion did not occur in Oregon.” He also encour­aged Trump to “return full author­ity over elec­tions to the states.”

Former West Virginia Secret­ary of State Natalie Tennant, a Demo­crat, tweeted: “there has been no evid­ence of millions of illegal votes.”

Connecti­cut Secret­ary of State Denise Merrill, a Demo­crat, said: “To claim, without a shred of evid­ence, that millions of ‘illegal votes’ were cast does noth­ing but under­mine people’s confid­ence in demo­cracy…”

Former Missouri Secret­ary of State Jason Kander, a Demo­crat, called Trump’s claim “a lie” and said “there is abso­lutely no reason” to think that fraud occurred in the most recent elec­tion.

Maine Secret­ary of State Matthew Dunlap, a Demo­crat, described voter fraud as “part of a national script” Repub­lic­ans use to “make it harder for people to vote.”

Michigan Secret­ary of State Ruth John­son, a Repub­lican, said: “I know of no wide­spread voter fraud…”

Vermont Secret­ary of State Jim Condos, a Demo­crat, in a state­ment: “…unsub­stan­ti­ated voter fraud claims under­mine our demo­cracy and dispar­age the hundreds of thou­sands of hard-work­ing elec­tion offi­cials across our great nation.”

Kentucky Secret­ary of State Alison Lunder­gan Grimes, a Demo­crat, said: “Pres­id­ent Trump’s asser­tion that millions of people voted illeg­ally in the 2016 elec­tion is completely unsub­stan­ti­ated…”

Minnesota Secret­ary of State Steve Simon, a Demo­crat, called the claims “false and irre­spons­ible” and expressed concern that the comments “could have the danger­ous effect of under­min­ing confid­ence in the elect­oral system.” 

Arizona Secret­ary of State Michele Reagan, a Repub­lican, said her office “can say with… confid­ence that we didn’t have wide­spread voter fraud in Arizona.”

Massachu­setts Secret­ary of State William Galvin, a Demo­crat, said that the alleg­a­tions were “outrageous lies.”

Meredith Beatrice, a spokes­wo­man for Flor­id­a’s Secret­ary of State, said: “[We are] not aware of docu­mented find­ings of illegal immig­rants or non-citizens voting in Flor­ida during the 2016 General Elec­tion. We have several safe­guards in place to prevent elec­tions fraud.”

Wanda Murren, a spokes­wo­man for the Pennsylvania Depart­ment of State, in an email: “We have no evid­ence at all of voter fraud. There is no evid­ence that undoc­u­mented immig­rants voted in Novem­ber.”

Nikki Charlson, Mary­land State Board of Elec­tions Deputy Admin­is­trator, said: “In Mary­land we have had no coordin­ated effort to impact the outcome of the elec­tion…”

Erv Switzer, Chair­man of the Saint Louis Board of Elec­tions Commis­sion­ers, said: “We had abso­lutely no indic­a­tion there were any fraud­u­lent votes cast on Novem­ber 8th and no indic­a­tion of any fraud­u­lent votes cast in any general elec­tion for a number of years.”

David Dove, chief of staff to Geor­gi­a’s Secret­ary of State, said: “We haven’t had illegal votes in Geor­gia…”

New York Attor­ney General Eric Schnei­der­man wrote in a letter to Congress: “We did not receive a single substan­ti­ated claim of voter fraud… The lack of such complaints made directly to my office, as well as the absence of refer­rals from other agen­cies, leads me to conclude that voter fraud — the act of an ineligible indi­vidual cast­ing a vote in an elec­tion—is a non-issue, at least in New York State.”

The National Asso­ci­ation of Secret­ar­ies of State, in a press release, stated: “We are not aware of any evid­ence that supports the voter fraud claims made by Pres­id­ent Trump…  In the lead up to the Novem­ber 2016 elec­tion, secret­ar­ies of state expressed their confid­ence in the systemic integ­rity of our elec­tion process as a bipar­tisan group, and they stand behind that state­ment today.”

 

Even before Trump took office, offi­cials contested his claim that the elec­tion was “rigged:”

Deputy House Major­ity Whip Tom Cole (R-OK), former Oklahoma Secret­ary of State, said: “[Voter fraud] does­n’t occur on a scale vast enough to change the outcome of the pres­id­en­tial elec­tion. So this system broadly renders the opin­ion of the Amer­ican people. It’s done so consist­ently for liter­ally hundreds of years — I think it will do it again in three weeks…”

Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), in a debate, said: “Our elec­tions may not always be completely perfect, but they are legit­im­ate, they have integ­rity and every­one needs to respect the outcome.”

 

 

Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE), in a state­ment after the third pres­id­en­tial debate, said: “Talk­ing about rigged elec­tions with zero evid­ence is danger­ous because it erodes trust without justi­fic­a­tion and kindles cynicism that under­mines self-govern­ment.”

Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) office released a state­ment in Octo­ber saying he is “confid­ent” the elec­tion will be carried out fairly.

Ohio Secret­ary of State Jon Husted, a Repub­lican, said the elec­tion system is “actu­ally more secure than it’s ever been in our nation’s history.”

 

Senator Marco Rubio on Voter Fraud

 

Wash­ing­ton Secret­ary of State Kim Wyman, a Repub­lican, said: “You would have to have a conspir­acy of such grand scale that I think we would have much bigger prob­lems than whether this elec­tion is rigged.”

Iowa Secret­ary of State Paul Pate, a Repub­lican, said in a state­ment: “As the state’s Commis­sioner of Elec­tions, I can assure you Iowa’s elec­tions are not rigged.”

 

Geor­gia Secret­ary of State Brian Kemp, a Repub­lican, said: Geor­gi­a’s “battle-tested voting equip­ment and the elec­tion offi­cials who manage the system have earned voters’ confid­ence… As Geor­gi­a’s chief elec­tions offi­cial, I have worked tire­lessly to ensure Geor­gi­ans have safe, access­ible, and fair elec­tions in our state.”

Tennessee Secret­ary of State Tre Hargett, a Repub­lican, said: “But by and large, here in Tennessee, based on what I know, elec­tions have been run in a very fair, honest and trans­par­ent fash­ion and in a very bipar­tisan way, frankly.”

Ohio Governor John Kasich, a Repub­lican, when asked if the elec­tion is rigged, said: “No! … Look, to say that elec­tions are rigged and all these votes are stolen, that’s like saying we never landed on the moon, frankly. That’s how silly it is…”

Michigan Secret­ary of State Ruth John­son, a Repub­lican, said she has “full confid­ence" in Michigan elec­tions: “In Michigan, we have the checks and balances to make sure that the elec­tions will be done prop­erly, with integ­rity…”

Kentucky Secret­ary of State Alison Lunder­gan Grimes, a Demo­crat, said: “Claims that our elec­tions are rigged are fanat­ical scare tactics and bear no resemb­lance to the truth…”

Ben Gins­berg, national coun­sel to Romney for Pres­id­ent, when asked if there was proof of wide­spread voter fraud, said: “Not in-person voter fraud. No.”

 

Senator Lindsey Graham on Voter Fraud

 

Mark Braden, a Repub­lican elec­tion lawyersaid though there have been occa­sional cases of voter fraud, “the elec­tion system in the United States gener­ally works extremely well, and fraud, although real, is modest.”

Chris Ashby, a Repub­lican elec­tion lawyer, wrote: “To the contrary, our elec­tion laws anti­cip­ate human error and cheat­ing, and guard against them at multiple levels. The result is a system of voting that is one of the clean­est and best in the world — in which all citizens should have faith and confid­ence.”

Al Schmidt, Vice Chair­man of the Phil­adelphia City Commis­sion­ers, a Repub­lican, in a press confer­ence, said: “The real threat to the integ­rity of elec­tions in Phil­adelphia isn’t voter fraud, though it does rarely occur… And it isn’t even Russian hack­ers, though they may certainly exist. The real threat to the integ­rity of elec­tions is irre­spons­ible accus­a­tions that under­mine confid­ence in the elect­oral process.”

Former Kentucky Secret­ary of State Trey Grayson, a Repub­lican, said: “It is so irre­spons­ible because what he’s doing really goes to the heart of our demo­cracy,” when comment­ing on Trump’s claims of voter fraud. “What is great about Amer­ica is that we change our lead­ers at the ballot box, not by bullets…”

Sher­rie Swensen, Salt Lake County Clerk, when asked if voter fraud would occur said: “No. Because we have so many people work­ing on vari­ous aspects of the elec­tion.”

Senator Lind­sey Graham (R-SC) said: “No one has sugges­ted to me there’s evid­ence of what he said,” in response to Trump’s Nov. 27 tweet alleging wide­spread voter fraud. Graham added: “And if there is not evid­ence, please stop saying that.”

Cali­for­nia Secret­ary of State Alex Padilla, a Demo­crat, in a state­ment: “[Trump’s] unsub­stan­ti­ated alleg­a­tions of voter fraud in Cali­for­nia and else­where are absurd. His reck­less tweets are inap­pro­pri­ate and unbe­com­ing of a pres­id­ent-elect.”

Former Montana Secret­ary of State Linda McCul­loch, a Demo­crat, said: “For there to be some sort of system­atic ‘rig­ging’ of the elec­tion system, fifty-six county elec­tion admin­is­trat­ors, their staff, and the fine citizens who work the polls would have to be some­how collud­ing with other unknown perpet­rat­ors. This is absurd, and is not happen­ing.”

Arizona Secret­ary of State Michele Reagan, a Repub­lican, said it is “nearly impossible” for her state’s voter system to be hacked.

Former Attor­ney General of New Hamp­shire Tom Rath, a Repub­licantweeted: “This will prob­ably cost me my spot in the Cabinet but there was no fraud, seri­ous or other, in this elec­tion in NH. There just wasn’t.”

Virginia Commis­sioner of Elec­tions Edgardo Cortés said: “The claims of voter fraud in Virginia during the Novem­ber 8 elec­tion are unfoun­ded… The elec­tion was fair and all votes cast by eligible voters were accur­ately coun­ted.”

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrichwhen asked if he sees evid­ence of millions of illegal votes cast said “no.”

Utah Lieu­ten­ant Governor Spen­cer Cox, a Repub­lican, who over­sees elec­tions, called Trump’s voter fraud claims “danger­ous” and said that he is “very, very confid­ent that the results are what the results are… It’s unfor­tu­nate that those are being brought up without any evid­ence, completely unsub­stan­ti­ated. It does erode confid­ence in what is the bedrock found­a­tion of our demo­cratic repub­lic, of our coun­try.”

David M. Scan­lan, New Hamp­shire Senior Deputy Secret­ary of State and head of the Elec­tion Divi­sionin response to Trump’s claims of wide­spread voter fraud, said: “There’s no indic­a­tion of anything that wide­spread taking place in New Hamp­shire…The percep­tion and the real­ity are both very import­ant in this process.” He said, “so if the Pres­id­ent-elect has inform­a­tion that suggests there’s some­thing going on that is contrary to what we under­stand, he ought to present that inform­a­tion so it can be acted on.” He added: “When comments like that are made we become very concerned about the percep­tion, which some­times is more import­ant than the real­ity when it comes to conduct­ing elec­tions because the voters need to feel confid­ent that their votes are coun­ted accur­ately.”

Brian Buonamano, Former Assist­ant Attor­ney General of New Hamp­shiresaid: “I do not see any indic­a­tion of a coordin­ated effort to conduct voter fraud on a large scale in the state of New Hamp­shire… There is no indic­a­tion of that. That’s not to say there aren’t poten­tially isol­ated incid­ents in any elec­tion, but not the kind of massive coordin­ated thing the Pres­id­ent-elect appears to be refer­en­cing, although I’m not sure exactly what he is refer­en­cing.”

New Hamp­shire Governor Chris Sununu, a Repub­lican, said: “No evid­ence of voter fraud in this past elec­tion has been brought to my atten­tion…”

Ruth Talmadge, Augusta County, VA Elect­oral Board Chair­wo­manin response to Trump’s tweet accus­ing Virginia of voter fraud said: “I’m not being cocky, but we just don’t… We had no malfunc­tions at all, we had no hesit­a­tions and our officers of elec­tion, at our train­ing sessions, we briefed them thor­oughly and to make any note of any hiccup that our equip­ment showed.”

James Kivlighan, Former Staunton County, VA Elect­oral Board Chair­mansaid: “I honestly have no idea how you can have voter fraud, we’re very very care­ful… I think that he’s just wrong… I just don’t see it, I take my job very very seri­ously.”

Lisa Jeffers, Waynes­boro, VA Regis­trarsaid: “I feel very comfort­able and confid­ent that the elec­tion was exactly as people wanted to see it turn out.”

Former New Mexico Secret­ary of State Brad Winter, a Repub­lican, said: “We have such a great system, because everything is backed up by a paper ballot.” On the topic of Trump’s recent claim that “millions” commit­ted voter fraud he said, “there’s noth­ing on that scale.”

Cali­for­nia Assembly Member Chad Mayes, a Repub­lican, said “I don’t think there’s wide­spread fraud in Cali­for­nia…”

Matt Roberts, the spokes­man for Arizon­a’s Secret­ary of State, said: “We haven’t received any complaints to our office or any word of suspi­cious activ­ity, and we would defin­itely hear it.”

Wyom­ing Secret­ary of State Ed Murray, a Repub­lican, in a state­ment, said: “Wyom­ing’s County Clerks and I are able to state categor­ic­ally that Wyom­ing’s elec­tion process will not be ‘rigged’ or 'hacked’…” 

Jim Tenuto, Former Assist­ant Exec­ut­ive Director of the Illinois State Board of Elec­tions, when asked about instances of voter fraud in his state said: “Noth­ing at all, really.”

Meg Casper, the spokes­wo­man for Louisi­ana’s Secret­ary of State, on the topic of fraud claims, said: “You call up and say there are busloads of people being dropped off in multiple parishes, and we have to check it out, even though we hear it every elec­tion… We call up the precinct office and they say, ‘No, we haven’t seen anything like that.’”

Maine Secret­ary of State Matthew Dunlap, a Demo­crat, said: “It is frus­trat­ing for me… Among secret­ar­ies of state, we’ve been very concerned about the rhet­oric around the conduct of the elec­tion… The process works.”

The National Asso­ci­ation of Secret­ar­ies of State, in a press release, stated: “The members of the National Asso­ci­ation of Secret­ar­ies of State (NASS) cannot allow unsub­stan­ti­ated claims call­ing into ques­tion the systemic integ­rity of the elec­tion process to shake voter confid­ence or disrupt voting in the run-up to Elec­tion Day on Novem­ber 8th… Voters must have no doubt that their votes – and votes alone – will determ­ine the next Pres­id­ent of the United States this Novem­ber.”

Senator James Lank­ford (R-OK) said: “our elec­tion system does not have millions of people that have viol­ated the process. Our states do a good job of check­ing it.”

House Major­ity Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), a Repub­lican, said: “I looked at this elec­tion. I saw the results come in. I trus­ted them [the results] just as I’ve trus­ted them in the past… I don’t have a prob­lem…  I say let’s govern… The elec­tion to me is over.”

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Image Cred­its

Header image: Tony Alter (flickr) (CC by 2.0)

Sen Graham image: John Orrell (flickr) (CC by 2.0)

Sen Rubio and Trump images: Max Gold­berg (flickr) (CC by 2.0

Sen Scott image: JAXPORT (flickr) (CC by 2.0