Are Election Results Trustworthy? A Voter Integrity Expert Explains

Following the midterm elections, voters wish to know that their vote was counted and that the election was safe.  

Concern over election safety exists amongst Republicans and Democrats alike, however are the fears based? 

“I feel we will belief many, if not most, of our elections, however there are elections the place both folks cheat or vital errors are made by election officers that query the end result,” says Hans von Spakovsky, co-author of “Our Damaged Elections: How the Left Modified the Approach You Vote,” in an interview recorded forward of Election Day.

Von Spakovsky, who can also be the supervisor of the Election Regulation Reform Initiative and senior authorized fellow at The Heritage Basis, joins “The Day by day Sign Podcast” to debate the frequency of voter fraud and the states with the most effective and worst election safety legal guidelines. (The Day by day Sign is the information outlet of The Heritage Basis.)

Hearken to the podcast under or learn the calmly edited transcript:

Virginia Allen: We’re joined right this moment by Hans von Spakovsky, the supervisor of the Election Regulation Reform Initiative and a senior authorized fellow at The Heritage Basis. Hans can also be the writer of the e book “Our Broken Elections: How the Left Changed the Way You Vote.” Hans, welcome again to the present.

Hans von Spakovsky: Properly, thanks for having me, though I feel we have been all up fairly darn late final night time.

Allen: Everybody’s slightly drained. However Hans, after elections, I feel on either side of the aisle what we’ve seen through the years is, after all, voters increase considerations concerning the safety, concerning the integrity of elections and the outcomes. You write and analysis on this extensively. You run The Heritage Basis’s voter fraud database. How usually does voter fraud truly occur?

Von Spakovsky: Properly, we don’t know the reply to that. We are able to get a learn on it by the confirmed instances of fraud which have occurred. That’s what our database is filled with. And we’re continuously including new instances to it. A number of the instances are simply remoted people taking benefit. I imply, we simply added two instances the place two folks have been convicted of voting within the names of their deceased moms. Alternatively, in order that’s only one particular person attempting to—

Allen: Thwart the system.

Von Spakovsky: Proper. Alternatively, we get instances the place there’s an organized effort to do that.

We lately added convictions of two people down in a small city in Louisiana, the chief of police and a member of the town council. Why? Properly, as a result of they’d put collectively this elaborate effort to bribe voters into voting for them.

So it’s simply sort of a mixture. What we do know is it occurs usually sufficient that we have to be involved about it and when is it going to matter essentially the most? In shut elections.

Allen: And you might have basically simply answered my second query as a result of I used to be going to ask you, is there a standard manner or a most typical manner that voter fraud takes place? But it surely seems like folks get fairly inventive.

Von Spakovsky: They’re very inventive. And once more, should you take a look at our database, you’ll discover each sort of fraud you may think about in there. Bribery—just like the instances we simply talked about—absentee poll fraud, impersonation fraud, registration fraud.

And when folks surprise, “Properly, registration fraud, what’s that? And the way may that have an effect on an election?” This previous summer time, a decide overturned a metropolis council race in Compton, California. Margin of victory was one vote. And it seems that half a dozen people register to vote in Compton who don’t truly reside in Compton. In order that’s clear registration fraud and it affected the result of the election.

Allen: Wow. What are the states which have the most effective insurance policies in place to stop voter fraud, to have safe elections? What are our mannequin states in America?

Von Spakovsky: Properly, no state is ideal, however the way in which folks, once more, can simply determine this out is that if they go to the web site. They’ll discover a new mission we launched known as the Election Integrity Scorecard. And now we have rated each single state within the nation primarily based on their election legal guidelines associated to integrity and 47 completely different standards we got here up with.

For example, you get a pleasant set of factors when you have a voter ID legislation. You’re rated negatively should you don’t, like California and New York.

The most effective states within the nation are typically, a lot of them are within the Southeast—Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Texas—as a result of legislators there have put within the effort to truly enhance their election legislation. So that they have carried out issues like put in an ID legislation, put in higher provisions for cleansing up voter registration guidelines.

Tennessee simply went up in our ranking system as a result of they lately handed a legislation saying that election officers may begin accessing business databases like credit score businesses to test the accuracy of their voter registration lists.

Allen: And what concerning the worst states?

Von Spakovsky: Properly, the worst states are typically many of the many blue states. California is unhealthy. New York. The worst state within the nation is Hawaii. Nevada, sadly, can also be up there, and it’s as a result of they don’t make a great effort to scrub up their voter rolls, they do nothing to confirm that people who find themselves registering are literally residents and so they don’t require an ID, all of which makes fraud straightforward to commit there and laborious to detect.

Allen: And while you say they’re not, like, making an effort to scrub up voter rolls, that implies that perhaps the absentee ballots are being mailed to properties the place a person has handed away or somebody can are available in and say, “I’m this particular person and that particular person now not lives within the state,” that type of factor?

Von Spakovsky: Sure, that’s precisely proper.

Allen: OK. In order we glance again by means of historical past, have there been that many elections that we all know of that truly have been swayed by voter fraud and it’s been confirmed?

Von Spakovsky: Sure. Sadly, true. And once more, if each undergo our database, our Election Fraud Database—and be mindful, our Election Fraud Database just isn’t a historic account of the complete U.S. historical past of elections. I imply, it’s principally instances from the final 10 to twenty years.

And there are quite a few instances in there the place elections have been overturned. I discussed the Compton Metropolis Council race. It was simply overturned this previous summer time.

Keep in mind 4 years in the past we had, truly, a congressional race, ninth Congressional District of North Carolina overturned a brand new election held after the State Board of Elections performed a really intensive investigation and found systematic absentee poll fraud that affected the result of the election.

So look, elections have been overturned, not simply at native ranges, however even, for instance, at congressional races too.

Allen: After all, we’ve simply had an election and plenty of, many extra elections, after all, to happen in America’s future. The great thing about residing in America is that now we have a voice because the American folks. We get to solid our ballots for the people who we predict symbolize our values most, who will symbolize our nation finest. After we’re trying again at elections, can we belief the outcomes of elections? And when do you assume are instances when we have to name issues into query, are there sure indicators to search for?

Von Spakovsky: Look, I feel we will belief many, if not most, of our elections, however there are elections the place both folks cheat or vital errors are made by election officers that query the end result.

Within the absentee poll fraud space, for instance, one indication that fraud could have occurred, and that is the way in which these sort of instances have been found up to now, is look, should you’re voting in a jurisdiction the place in previous elections, the typical variety of folks utilizing an absentee poll has been about 10%, if swiftly in an election that jumps to 30% or 40%, nicely, yeah, perhaps there’s some motive why swiftly folks began utilizing these ballots. However alternatively, perhaps there isn’t.

One other indication of that’s, look, if on Election Day one specific candidate will get 60% of the votes and the dropping candidate will get 40%, however while you depend up the absentee ballots, it seems the successful candidate obtained 90% of the votes—come on. That, once more, ought to increase a suspicion as a result of why would there be an enormous differential between the absentee ballots solid for a candidate and the ballots solid on Election Day?

Allen: So what are perhaps three or 4 of the most effective practices to maintain elections truthful, protected, and safe?

Von Spakovsky: To begin with, each state must have a voter ID requirement that applies to each in-person and absentee ballots. Each state that’s carried out this has put in a provision offering a free ID to anybody that doesn’t have already got one. That’s one of the staple items.

The second large factor that states must do is a greater job of sustaining the accuracy of their voter rolls. And which means, for instance, recurrently checking to take folks off who’ve died, recurrently checking to take folks off who’ve moved out of state.

And the absentee balloting course of must be nicely managed as a result of it’s the one sort of poll voted outdoors the supervision of election officers and outdoors the commentary of ballot watchers.

So whereas we want absentee ballots for people who find themselves disabled to make it to a polling place or maybe, or out of city—though nowadays that’s slightly bit tougher to assert when now we have early voting for such a prolonged intervals—the usage of absentee poll must be minimized. And we should always solely permit that for individuals who actually can’t make it to a polling place to vote.

And people absentee ballots, for instance, no state ought to permit what I name vote trafficking. Yeah, it is best to have the ability to mail your poll again. You ought to have the ability to personally ship it to election officers, a member of your loved ones too. However permitting third-party strangers, like candidates and marketing campaign activists, political weapons for rent to go to folks’s properties and decide up their absentee ballots and probably stress and coerce them to vote a selected manner or perhaps change that poll, that may be a very unwise coverage. And but, about half the states permit that.

Allen: I wish to encourage all of our listeners to take a look at your work at, to search for the voter fraud database, the elections scorecard. Hans, you keep busy. There’s loads occurring.

Von Spakovsky: Properly, significantly in an election yr.

Allen: Completely. However thanks a lot on your time right this moment. We actually respect you becoming a member of the present proper after such a loopy time and such a wild election.

Von Spakovsky: Positive. Thanks for having me.

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