Election experts say Kris Kobach's voter fraud claims are misleading

Kris Kobach, the former vice-chair of President Donald Trump's now-disbanded commission on election integrit...

Posted: Aug 8, 2018 10:06 AM
Updated: Aug 8, 2018 10:06 AM

Kris Kobach, the former vice-chair of President Donald Trump's now-disbanded commission on election integrity, and Maine's Democratic Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap have engaged in a public back and forth over the issue of voter fraud, with Kobach accusing Dunlap, a former member of the commission, of being "willfully blind to the voter fraud in front of his nose," and Dunlap claiming that the commission failed to find evidence of widespread fraud.

But election experts say that Kobach's claims are misleading and obscure the reality that voter fraud is rare in the context of the more than 1 billion votes cast since 2000.

2016 Presidential election

Election fraud

Election results

Elections (by type)

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Kris Kobach

Matthew Dunlap

Political candidates

Political corruption

Political Figures - US

Politics

US Federal elections

US Presidential elections

Voters and voting

In a statement sent to CNN on Saturday claiming that Dunlap is "willfully blind," Kobach, who serves as Kansas' Republican secretary of state, said that the commission "was presented with more than 1,000 convictions for voter fraud since the year 2000." Kobach further claimed that this finding was only a fraction of the total and said that the "commission was also presented approximately 8,400 instances of double voting in the 2016 election looking only at 20 states."

The statement did not cite sources for the numbers and Kobach's office did not respond to a CNN request asking what evidence the information was based on.

Three election experts interviewed by CNN, however, cast doubt on the claims made by Kobach, a noted proponent of voter fraud theories and related policies. For example, in 2016, Kobach supported Trump's false claim that "millions of people" voted illegally for Hillary Clinton in that year's presidential election.

Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles; Lorraine Minnite, a professor at Rutgers University-Camden; and Charles Stewart, a professor at MIT, all pointed out that while there have been isolated instances of voter fraud, there is no substantial evidence to indicate that it is a widespread problem in US elections and any assertions to the contrary are inaccurate.

"There isn't any reliable evidence that voter fraud is the kind of problem that Kris Kobach says it is," Minnite said. "I would never say that voter fraud never happens. But with respect to fraud committed by voters, there is very little evidence that this is any kind of a problem in American elections and Kobach needs to stop putting out information to the public that is misleading in suggesting that there is a problem."

Stewart said that it's important to "balance out" Kobach's assertion that the commission was presented with over 1,000 convictions, "with the number of votes cast since 2000, which is over a billion." He added, "on the face of what Kobach presents, it would be hard to argue that there is any large-scale issue."

Levitt, who has conducted extensive research on voter fraud allegations, said it appears Kobach may be basing the claim that the commission was presented with "approximately 8,400 instances of double voting in the 2016 election" on a report from the conservative nonprofit Government Accountability Institute. But if that's the case, Levitt said that Kobach inaccurately represented the information in the report.

"The report itself does not say that there were about 8,400 instances of double voting in the 2016 election," said Levitt, who also served as national voter protection counsel for Barack Obama's presidential campaign in 2008.

Instead, the report identified 8,471 instances of what it described as "highly likely" cases of duplicate voting, according to the researchers' criteria, that the report recommended be further investigated.

Minnite and Levitt said that Kobach's claim that the commission was presented with more than 1,000 convictions for voter fraud since 2000 may be based on data compiled by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. But both said there are key caveats that need to be taken into consideration.

"That report includes misconduct by election officials and other insiders that can't be attributed to voters, so that's important to note," Levitt said. "But even just including incidents back to 2000, that's over a time frame that includes well over a billion votes cast. So it's important to consider the context and the bigger picture so as not to distort the reality of the situation."

Kobach's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 356061

Reported Deaths: 4275
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55695704
Washington38673322
Marion36719454
Clackamas29660309
Lane27624302
Jackson22982310
Deschutes20211125
Umatilla14451150
Linn12780130
Douglas12065243
Josephine9349196
Yamhill8674113
Klamath7965118
Polk733681
Malheur561776
Benton546531
Coos501294
Columbia379744
Jefferson372352
Union318449
Lincoln318039
Crook287546
Wasco287441
Clatsop243329
Baker202529
Tillamook196432
Hood River192137
Morrow184423
Curry180025
Harney113726
Grant100013
Lake92412
Wallowa68612
Gilliam1544
Sherman1503
Wheeler1121
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 4842472

Reported Deaths: 71202
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148181426506
Riverside3712935030
San Diego3660564183
San Bernardino3582135663
Orange3241845550
Sacramento1593332308
Kern1459621644
Fresno1458772084
Santa Clara1453911896
Alameda1205301400
San Joaquin1025821721
Ventura1009841166
Contra Costa998841008
Stanislaus860701331
Tulare80203967
San Francisco54375646
San Mateo54112622
Monterey50885587
Solano46021341
Santa Barbara45160523
Merced42299581
Sonoma40925402
Placer39342425
Imperial35999766
Kings32801322
San Luis Obispo29945332
Madera23876285
Shasta23851352
Butte23738270
Santa Cruz21018220
Yolo20353248
Marin17692244
El Dorado17169149
Sutter13913175
Napa12882100
Yuba1008582
Tehama9510110
Humboldt9243108
Nevada914290
Mendocino763687
Lassen754347
San Benito744472
Tuolumne688089
Lake6605104
Amador544064
Siskiyou450546
Glenn436733
Calaveras389381
Del Norte358342
Colusa307218
Inyo211140
Mono16703
Plumas16417
Mariposa133416
Trinity87711
Modoc6865
Sierra1880
Unassigned1820
Alpine1030
Out of CA00
Medford
Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 57° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 51°
Brookings
Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 49°
Feels Like: 52°
Crater Lake
Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 36° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 51°
Grants Pass
Cloudy
51° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 48°
Feels Like: 51°
Klamath Falls
Cloudy
42° wxIcon
Hi: 48° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 37°
Showers and cool Friday
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events