SEVERE WX : High Wind Watch - Wind Advisory View Alerts
STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

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: 153645

Reported Deaths: 2162
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah31669515
Washington20962209
Marion18246282
Clackamas13260170
Lane10096122
Jackson8198108
Umatilla760081
Deschutes589358
Yamhill373962
Linn354455
Malheur333658
Polk300642
Klamath276554
Douglas237551
Josephine228849
Benton227816
Jefferson193427
Coos138518
Union126919
Columbia123221
Wasco121825
Lincoln112320
Hood River106029
Morrow103613
Crook77118
Clatsop7706
Baker6397
Curry4106
Tillamook4062
Lake3746
Harney2726
Grant2221
Wallowa1424
Gilliam531
Sherman520
Wheeler221
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 3543340

Reported Deaths: 49888
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles118349620069
Riverside2885413695
San Bernardino2850812651
Orange2598573848
San Diego2578053218
Santa Clara1095061747
Kern102137786
Fresno945841397
Sacramento926211446
Alameda797961200
Ventura76947805
San Joaquin662901042
Contra Costa61865653
Stanislaus55487937
Tulare47680731
Monterey42016323
San Mateo38552502
San Francisco33947394
Santa Barbara31630398
Solano29882161
Merced28749393
Sonoma27845295
Imperial26840587
Kings21916218
Placer19661231
San Luis Obispo19500221
Madera15325201
Santa Cruz14516174
Marin13083197
Yolo12689185
Shasta10950172
Butte10855158
El Dorado906995
Napa895068
Sutter881896
San Benito572358
Yuba571936
Lassen559419
Tehama506852
Tuolumne392959
Nevada390974
Mendocino379043
Amador343840
Humboldt313633
Lake310740
Glenn220723
Colusa212513
Calaveras190225
Siskiyou172013
Inyo127835
Mono12084
Del Norte9765
Plumas6516
Modoc4504
Mariposa3937
Trinity3525
Sierra990
Alpine800
Unassigned00
Medford
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 52°
Brookings
Clear
50° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 50°
Medford
Clear
52° wxIcon
Hi: 30° Lo: 9°
Feels Like: 52°
Medford
Partly Cloudy
52° wxIcon
Hi: 54° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 52°
Klamath Falls
Clear
35° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 19°
Feels Like: 29°
Another sunny afternoon
KDRV Radar
KDRV Fire Danger
KDRV Weather Cam

Community Events