I wrote here about the attempt of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to obtain voter data from the states to determine whether, or to what extent, voter fraud is a problem. More than a few states have resisted, even though many of them make the same information available for purchase by campaigns, political parties, researchers or even the general public.
What, it must be asked, are these states trying to conceal?
A new study by the Government Accountability Institute suggests the answer. It shows that thousands of votes in the 2016 election were illegal duplicate votes from people who registered and voted in more than one state.
Our friend Hans von Spakovsky, a member of the Commission on Election Integrity, reports:
The Government Accountability Institute was able to obtain voter registration and voter history data from only 21 states because while some states shared it freely, “others impose exorbitant costs or refuse to comply with voter information requests”. . .
The institute compared the lists using an “extremely conservative matching approach that sought only to identify two votes cast in the same legal name.” It found that 8,471 votes in 2016 were “highly likely” duplicates.
Extrapolating this to all 50 states would likely produce, with “high-confidence,” around 45,000 duplicate votes.
The Government Accountability Institute wasn’t content just to match names and birthdays, which can be the same for different individuals. It contracted with companies that have commercial databases to further cross-check these individuals using their Social Security numbers and other information. When names, birthdates and Social Security numbers are matched, there is virtually no chance of false positives.
Notice that the study is confined to only one type of voter fraud — cases where an individual uses the same name to vote in more than one state. It does not capture cases of ineligible voting by noncitizens and felons — likely the most common type of fraud — and absentee ballot fraud.
Even so, 45,000 fraudulent votes is not an inconsequential number. As Hans points out, Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire by fewer than 3,000 votes out of over 700,000 cast. (New Hampshire was one of the states that refused to turn over its data for this study. There have been allegations of Massachusetts residents voting there).
In addition, the 2000 presidential election was decided by 537 votes out of a total of 105 million cast. And in 2008, Al Franken won his Minnesota Senate race by a mere 312 votes. He ended up being the deciding vote that gave this country Obamacare.
The Institute’s work should prove helpful to the Commission on Election Integrity as it overcomes obstacles thrown up by those who claim voter fraud doesn’t exist, but are unwilling to have that claim tested.
You might also read this: Blog: Hackers in competition breach voting machine security in minutes