What is voter fraud? How common is it? Today, we’re giving you all of the recent vital voter fraud statistics you need to know.
The US presidential election of 2020 was one of the most chaotic elections to this date. One of the main topics during this election and its aftermath was voter fraud. So, it comes as no surprise that many Americans still wonder whether the accusations of fraud were founded and if it is that easy to commit voter fraud. Well, if you have the same questions, we’re glad you’ve found us!
Crucial Voter Fraud Statistics (Editor’s Picks)
- In the last 20 years, authorities have found around 193 fraudulent mail cases
- For every billion ballots cast, less than 50 instances of impersonation fraud occur
- In the last 20 years, authorities have found 45 instances of voter fraud in California
- From 2006, 91 instances of voter fraud have occurred in Texas
- For violating absentee voting laws, a defendant can face up to 5 years in prison
- 28% of people believed voter fraud would occur during the 2020 elections
- 16% of people believe they would never know the actual outcome of the 2020 elections
- 35% of Americans were not worried about fraud in postal voting during the 2020 elections
Types of Voter Fraud
The thing is, there is no official typology that exists for voter fraud. However, the Heritage Foundation came up with the most extensive list of the kinds of voter fraud, which we’ll be presenting to you shortly, along with some examples of each type.
Ballot Petition Fraud
Forging voters’ signatures on ballot petitions is a form of voter fraud. You might be surprised to learn that ballot petition fraud makes up a large percentage of voter fraud nationwide and that almost every state had a case of ballot petition fraud in recent years.
Fraudulent Use of Absentee Ballots
This type of voter fraud involves fraudulent activities that have to do with absentee ballots. For instance, a person can request a ballot and vote in somebody’s name without their knowledge or take the ballot from a voter and forge their signature. Telling somebody, in an illegal manner, who to vote for on their absentee ballot is also a form of fraudulent use of absentee ballots.
Any person who votes when they’re not eligible to do so can also be subject to a fine or time in prison. Voter fraud examples for ineligible voting include voting done by someone who’s not an American citizen or someone who’s a convicted felon.
Impersonation Fraud at the Polls
Due to today’s sophisticated identification systems, this type of fraud is rare and hard to carry out. Still, situations where someone votes in the name of a voter who’s registered but has passed away, moved, or lost their right to vote, do happen.
Using a fake name or address or claiming to live somewhere you’re not allowed to vote in can also lead to authorities pressing charges against you.
Looking at voter fraud numbers, you’ll see that the most significant number of inconclusive criminal cases are about buying votes. That’s because it’s pretty difficult to prove, especially if there’s a lack of cooperation by the parties involved.
Voting both by mail and in-person during one election can also get someone in trouble with the law. Furthermore, voting in more than one location is illegal as well.
Illegal Assistance at the Polls
Anyone who takes advantage of somebody else by intimidating them or forcing them to vote for someone is “illegally assisting” them at the polls. Statistics on voter fraud tell us that most of the victims in these situations are illiterate, disabled, elders, and not proficient in English.
Changing the Vote Count
Fraud can not only occur while voting but also in the counting process. A good example of this type of fraud is altering the vote count in the location where the votes are counted or at the precinct.
Voter Fraud Cases: How Often Does Fraud Occur?
As no official numbers exist, it’s hard to say for sure how often voter fraud occurs. However, by adding up numbers in different states and calculating percentages, experts helped us understand how frequently people commit certain kinds of voter fraud. Let’s take a look.
1. In the last 20 years, authorities have found around 193 cases of fraudulent use of mail ballots.
The number includes both criminal convictions and civil penalties. We’ll put this stat into perspective by informing you that around 250 million ballots were cast during this time. So, the number of voter fraud convictions in mail ballots is pretty small.
2. For every billion ballots cast, less than 50 instances of impersonation fraud occur.
With today’s advanced identification mechanisms, voter impersonation is pretty rare and difficult to carry out. That is proven by a claim by Justin Levitt, a law professor, who spent 15 years examining the ballots and coming up with voter impersonation statistics, one of which we provided you in our article.
3. The average double voting rate for most states is around 0.0002%.
(Harvard Web Publishing)
While we could not find an official percentage on double voting, we gathered some info on specific states and found an average for those numbers. We have numbers for Missouri, New Jersey, and New York. In Missouri, for instance, the documented double voting rate is around 0.0003%. New Jersey has an estimated rate of 0.0002%, and New York has an extremely low rate for this type of fraud: 0.000009%.
The Number of Cases of Voter Fraud in the Different States
If you’re curious to learn about the frequency and the most common types of fraud in certain US states, this portion of our article is for you! We will give you the numbers for California, New York, and Texas.
4. In the last 20 years, authorities have found 45 instances of voter fraud in California.
(The Heritage Foundation)
In 2020, for instance, authorities in California found eight Republican and Democrat voter fraud that resulted in criminal convictions. Almost all of the convictions were for vote-buying and ballot petition fraud.
5. Since the beginning of the 21st century, only 19 people were officially charged for voter fraud in New York.
(The Heritage Foundation)
The highest cases in New York were recorded in 2016 and 2017. Most of the convictions were for the fraudulent use of absentee ballots or for false registrations.
6. Since 2006, 91 instances of voter fraud have occurred in Texas.
(The Heritage Foundation)
As you can see, the number of election tampering and other types of fraud in Texas is higher than in California and New York. What is interesting for this state is that, in recent years, there were three cases of overturned elections.
In 2018, a district judge ordered an overturn of mayoral elections in the City of Mission after finding strong evidence of bribery, tampering with postal ballots, and improper assistance of voters at the polls.
The other two cases were both in Kleberg County. One was during the Justice of Peace elections, and the other one was during the Republican primary. After the authorities found numerous instances of fraud, the judge overturned the elections.
Voter Fraud Arrests: Penalties
In this next section, we will provide you with information on penalties nationwide. However, you should keep in mind that the actual punishment for voter fraud depends on the type of fraud committed and the state where it occurred.
7. In Connecticut, presenting as someone else while voting will subject you to 1 year in prison.
If authorities find any evidence of voter fraud, a person who assumed somebody else’s name also faces the possibility of a $500 fine as well as disenfranchisement. That means this person will be prevented from exercising their right to vote.
8. In Connecticut, a penalty for double voting is up to 2 years in prison.
Experts claim that when it comes to double voting, it’s pretty easy to find proof of voter fraud when it comes to double voting. Besides prison, the defendant would have to pay a fine of $300 to $500. They would also be prevented from voting again. The same penalty applies to those who were not legally qualified to vote.
9. For violating absentee voting laws, the defendant can face up to 5 years in prison.
(Criminal Defence Lawyer)
Violating absentee voting laws is the worst type of voter fraud. If authorities find proof of this, aside from the prison sentence, the accused would have to pay a fine of up to $,5000.
US Voter Fraud: Opinions about the 2020 US Elections
How many people actually trust the voting system? Does the trust level depend on which party they belong to? You’ll find out in this section.
10. 28% of American adults believed voter fraud would occur in the 2020 elections.
Around 26% of survey participants had a contrasting opinion before the elections. Also, the opinion polls show that only 10% of Democrats believed that voter fraud is likely to happen. On the other hand, 43% of Republicans feared that voter fraud would occur.
11. 31% of Americans were moderately confident that the presidential elections would be fair.
On the other hand, voter fraud stats tell us that only 5% of surveyed American adults were unsure whether the elections would be held fairly. When it comes to parties, around 3% of Democrats were not confident in the fairness of the elections. On the contrary, 28% of Republicans had moderate confidence in the fairness of the 2020 elections.
12. 22% of adults in the US were confident in the accuracy of vote counting.
On the contrary, around 6% believed this kind of election irregularities would occur during the presidential elections. Additionally, about 9% of Republicans had the same opinion. Oppositely, 23% of Democrats in the US displayed confidence in voter counting accuracy.
13. 35% of US adults think the biggest threat to safe elections is misleading information.
When asked about the main factors that can lead to inaccurate elections in general, 5% highlighted problems at the polling places. Moreover, around 34% of Democrats blamed voter suppression for possible issues during elections, while only 5% of Republicans shared that opinion.
14. 31% of adults in the US believe that voter fraud happened in 2020.
In addition, a survey published by Statista on voter fraud in the US shows that around 27% of participants think that voter fraud did not happen during the 2020 elections. So, even though this survey does not encompass the whole country, it indicates that more Americans believe than those who don’t think that fraud occurred in the previous election.
15. 51% of Americans believed that a recount of the votes would not change their confidence in the 2020 election’s outcome.
During the vote-counting process of the 2020 presidential election, Republicans submitted claims of Democratic voter fraud and urged for a recount in several states. A survey conducted during that period showed that most Americans would have the same confidence in the election results, regardless of a recount. On the other hand, 11% of survey participants said that a recount would bring much more confidence in the election’s outcome.
16. 16% of people believed they would never know the actual outcome of the 2020 election.
Furthermore, 27% of surveyed Americans moderately agreed with the abovementioned statement. But, most US citizens, particularly 42%, believed they would know the real outcome of the election.
Mail-in Voter Fraud Statistics: Thoughts on Postal Voting
As postal voting was one of the hot topics of the 2020 election due to COVID-19 restrictions, we had to dedicate a special part of our article to the public opinion on in-mail voting. Does yours differ from the most popular answers?
17. 76% of Republicans believed postal voting would increase voter fraud in 2020.
Research on mail-in voting causing voter fraud in the United States shows that Republicans saw this type of voting as a threat to fair elections in 2020. When it comes to Democratic voters, only 27% of them had the same opinion.
18. 35% of Americans were not worried about postal voting fraud in the 2020 election.
On the other hand, around 22% of survey participants believed that postal voting could particularly affect voter fraud rates and were somewhat worried about fraudulent voting by mail. Moreover, over 50% of Republicans were very worried about this issue, while 57% of Democrats claimed they were not at all concerned about fraudulent postal voting.
19. 50% of Republicans think that allowing everyone to vote by mail could result in a great deal of fraud.
If you’ve been reading our article carefully, then you can already assume that a large number of Republicans believe that postal voting would increase the amount of voter fraud cases. Furthermore, around 31% of Republican survey participants think that extending the postal vote would lead to a fair amount of fraud. Lastly, about 16% of participants believe that fraud cases could increase “only a little.”
20. 18% of Democrats believe that extending mail voting to all would not lead to voter fraud.
The highest percentage of Democrats think postal voting would have a small negative effect on voter fraud — 41%. Additionally, around 24% of Democratic survey participants believe that this decision could lead to a fair amount of voter fraud. Lastly, 16% of Democrats think it would greatly increase voter fraud percentage.
21. 30% of Americans strongly believe that mail ballots were manipulated to favor Joe Biden in 2020.
A large number of US citizens believe that Democrats were using mail-in voting to manipulate the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. However, a greater percentage of those who participated in the survey think otherwise. Specifically, 44% of Americans think the voting manipulation in Joe Biden’s favor is definitely not true. Lastly, around 9% of survey participants believe this claim is “probably not true.”
Voter Fraud Statistics: The Bottom Line
We hope that you now have a better understanding of voter fraud and how common it actually is. Even though it’s not as common as some media would make it seem, they do occur, and defendants can face hefty fines and up to five years in prison.
So, you shouldn’t be quick to dismiss these kinds of reports. Still, as seen in our voter fraud statistics, voter fraud is difficult to carry out.
Furthermore, in most cases, authorities uncover it pretty quickly, especially when it comes to the ones conducted by civilians. Therefore, at the moment, voter fraud shouldn’t keep anybody up at night.