Heritage Fraud Database: An Assessment

Brennan Center for Justice,  September 11, 2017

Claims that the Heritage Foundation document contains almost 1,100 proven instances of voter fraud are grossly exaggerated and devoid of context, Brennan Center researchers found. It confirms what numerous studies have consistently shown: Voter fraud is vanishingly rare, and impersonating a voter at the polls is less common a phenomenon than being struck by lightning.

“The database includes an assortment of cases, many unrelated or tangentially related, going back decades, with only a handful pertaining to non-citizens voting or impersonation at the polls. They add up to a molecular fraction of the total votes cast nationwide. Inadvertently, the Heritage Foundation’s database undermines its claim of widespread voter fraud.”

  • Among the examples in the Heritage document are a case from 1948 (when Harry S. Truman beat Thomas Dewey) and a case from 1972 (when Richard Nixon defeated George McGovern). Only 105 of its 749 cases came from within the past five years.
  • In reviewing billions of votes cast, the Heritage Foundation identified just 10 cases involving in-person impersonation fraud at the polls (fewer than the number of members on the president’s Commission).
  • The database includes only 41 cases involving non-citizens registering, voting, or attempting to vote over five decades, highlighting the absurdity of President Trump’s claim that millions of non-citizens voted in the 2016 election alone.
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