Donald Trump Makes More Bizarre, Baseless Claims About Voter Fraud And Voter ID

Donald Trump is engaging in another round of baseless and bizarre conspiracy theories about alleged voter fraud.

In his latest bizarre effort to undermine the voting process, President Trump made a series of ridiculous claims in an interview that honestly make one wonder about his grip on reality:

There’s no good argument underlying President Trump’s insistence that U.S. elections are undermined by rampant voter fraud. There’s no evidence at all that they are, despite years of looking and years of rhetoric like Trump’s. There’s no evidence of rampant voter fraud in Florida in the wake of last week’s midterm elections, either, despite Trump’s tweets and commentary.

But there are particularly bad arguments for the existence of voter fraud, two of which Trump offered in an interview with the Daily Caller on Wednesday afternoon. The outlet’s Benny Johnson and Saagar Enjeti interviewed Trump in the Oval Office, and the conversation turned to the recount in that state.

Here’s the first claim Trump made, hoping to bolster his assertion that fraud is rampant: “When people get in line that have absolutely no right to vote and they go around in circles. Sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again. Nobody takes anything. It’s really a disgrace what’s going on.”

Here’s the second claim he made, hoping to bolster the idea that photo ID should be required at polling places: “If you buy a box of cereal — you have a voter ID. They try to shame everybody by calling them racist, or calling them something, anything they can think of, when you say you want voter ID. But voter ID is a very important thing.”

The second claim, of course, is utterly silly and it led to several hours of jokes on Twitter at Trump’s expense. You don’t need identification to buy that box of Corn Flakes, of course, although I suppose that on some level Trump can be excused for not knowing this because he most likely has not had to shop for his own groceries in decades and it’s entirely possible that he’s never actually been inside a grocery store of any kind as a customer at any point in his life. Amazingly, though, this isn’t the first time Trump has made this claim. As Philip Bump notes in The Washington Post, Philip Bump notes that he made a similar claim back in August. Again, this is an utterly silly claim. Perhaps you need to show identification if you’re paying by check, but if you want to go to the grocery store and buy a box of Corn Flakes, and pay with cash, credit, or debt, then nobody is going to ask you for identification.

As Bump goes on to note, though, it’s Trump’s first claim that is even more absurd:

If you have ever voted, you know how ridiculous this is. While you don’t always need a photo ID to vote, you do need to be registered (in nearly every state) and somehow verify your identity, often by matching your signature against one on file.

Unless you live in a small community in which two people are identified solely by their hat colors, and unless you convince the person at the polling place to ignore your face and just focus on your hat color and unless there are for some reason no other checks to validate your registration, your hat-switching or shirt-changing strategy isn’t going to work.

It’s sort of amazing that the president of the United States doesn’t know this or pretends he doesn’t.

Trump should certainly know how hard it is to vote because he famously had to travel to multiple polling places in 2004 when trying to cast his presidential vote, camera crew in tow. (It was for a show hosted by Billy Bush, who has a habit of starring in videos that don’t cast Trump in the greatest light.) Trump wasn’t on any of the voter registration lists and ultimately had to cast a provisional ballot.

These latest claims come, of course, as various states around the country seek to count and certify votes in a variety of close races around the country, most notably in Georgia and Florida but also including a number of Congressional races around the country that are still considered too close to call. Virtually from the day after the election, Trump and other Republicans have done everything they possibly can to undermine the validity of this counting process and, in some cases, filed lawsuits to stop authorities from counting or recounting ballots.  As Steven Taylor notes, this kind of questioning of the validity of the election process, unsupported by evidence, is nothing short of an effort to undermine the validity of the democratic process itself. Given the fact that we’re talking about a President who has already sought to undermine public trust in the media by labeling it “fake news” and an “enemy of the people,” of course, this hardly comes as a surprise.

To respond to Trump’s claims, the truth is that there is no credible evidence of voter fraud during the recently concluded specifically and, more generally speaking, little evidence of the kind of in-person voter fraud that Voter ID laws are supposedly intended to combat, Instead, as several studies have shown, those laws end up having the primary impact of making it more difficult for poor and minority voters to vote, something that has caused several Federal Courts across the country to strike down Voter ID laws in states such as Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Texas, Time and again, evidence has shown that Voter ID laws disproportionately make it more difficult for people of color to vote. The laws are usually passed by Republican legislatures in no small part because they tamp down a voting base assumed to support Democrats. In fact, in the past, courts have explicitly called voter ID laws in Texas and North Carolina discriminatory based not just on their impact on voting behavior but due to the fact that there have been statements made on the record by the drafters of these bills that make it clear that the intent of the bill was to provide on political party with an advantage by making it harder for the voters of the other party to vote. Combine this with the fact that there is little evidence that there is any actual voter fraud problem that these laws would address, and there’s really only one conclusion can be drawn.

In any case, even if one supports Voter ID as a concept, and I still count myself in that group provided that the identification is made as easy to obtain as possible, that it does not unduly burden one group of voters, and that the cost of obtaining a valid voter identification card is zero, the lies that someone like the President spin makes it harder and harder to support the cause. This becomes especially true when one is dealing with the kind of absurdity that the President spewed in this interview.

FILED UNDER: Donald Trump, Politicians, US Politics, Voter Suppression, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. PJ says:

    About this claim from Trump:

    When people get in line that have absolutely no right to vote and they go around in circles. Sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again. Nobody takes anything. It’s really a disgrace what’s going on.

    Remember when Trump congratulated Putin on his election victory?

    That would be the election where they didn’t even change hats!

    Identical twins and ‘carousels’: Russia’s fairground election:

    Ludmila Sklyarevskaya, a Russian hospital administrator, voted on Sunday in an election that gave Vladimir Putin another term as Russia’s president.

    Then she went to another polling station and voted again, according to Reuters reporters who witnessed her movements.

    Sklyarevskaya, who denied any wrongdoing, was among 17 people who were photographed by Reuters apparently casting ballots at more than one polling station Sunday in the town of Ust-Djeguta, southern Russia.

    Many appeared to be state employees, and some showed up in groups and in mini buses bearing the names of state-provided services.

    11
  2. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Donald Trump Makes More Bizarre, Baseless Claims

    FTFY

    Dennison is losing his shit. He is having a full-on meltdown right before our eyes. The folks in the West Wing now realize the whole world knows it. Only his dupes refuse to believe it. The question is still the same as it has been for nearly two years; when will someone in the Republican party step up and say “enough”?
    Our our kid’s children are going to read some funny fvcking history, about a time in America when one party was so intent on giving themselves tax breaks and controlling the bodies of women, that they stood by and watched the demise of a 240 year old Republic, a Nation that had once been the most powerful in the history of the world.

    11
  3. Kathy says:

    I wonder if you should copy Mexico’s system. Not the whole centralized electoral system, but at least as far as issuing ID goes.

    Short version, it’s free, and the requirements are minimal. these are:

    1) birth certificate or naturalization certificate (to prove citizenship)
    2) Any existing ID (don’t worry, it’s covered later)
    3) A utility bill or bank statement as proof of domicile (to prove you live in that district)

    If you lack any of the above documents, you can have two people who do have them, or an existing electoral ID, to vouch for you.

    The current iteration of the card has an expiration date of ten years to the day it was issued. This helps cleanse the voter rolls of ineligible voters, either because they passed away, moved, or didn’t renew their card. When you move outside your district, you’re supposed to get a new card reflecting the updated domicile.

    You can find your polling station and whether you’re on the voter rolls inside a minute online. At the polling station, they have printed sheets with images of the cards and the data they contain, to check against the person trying to vote. I forget whether you sign anything or are just handed your ballot.

    The downside is the modules for obtaining the card are not conveniently located (though on the first issue, the government went door to door signing people up), and you have to go twice, once to register and once to pick up your card.

    PS in Las Vegas, I’ve been asked for ID when paying with debit and credit cards at convenience stores.

  4. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Kathy: The republicans always demand a voter ID law but if a national ID is proposed (as it was about 35 years ago) the r’s will fan the paranoia flames about Big Brother. They don’t want ID they want suppression.

    19
  5. MarkedMan says:

    @Kathy: We are long, long past the need for a national ID here. If it wasn’t for the lunatic fringe we wouldn’t be stuck with this half-assed drivers license / SSN kluge we’ve been working with for decades. It would solve an awful lot of problems.

  6. Teve says:

    @Kathy: small government / pro-freedom people should only favor new government regulations when they fix a legitimate problem. There is no voter fraud problem in the US and therefore no new voter ID regulations are required.

  7. de stijl says:

    I’ll repeat and condense what I said SLT’s thread.

    This is very bad and *very, very* dangerous behavior even for Trump.

  8. Franklin says:

    Anytime I’m feeling stupid, all I need to do is look for Trump quotes like these gems. I mean jesus christ folks, I’m smarter than the President of the United States!

  9. Mr. Prosse says:

    @Franklin: You’re probably smarter than many presidents.

  10. Mr. Prosser says:

    @Franklin: You’re probably smarter than many presidents.

  11. Kathy says:

    I understand the issues with a national ID (though I wonder how such people regard passports). In part, it would be a way to confront the Voter ID fanatics with reality.

    On the other hand, this would also work well at the state level. But that’s where it ends. if it goes to a county level, you’ll get problems. You know, like trump claiming in Democratic counties one can get different IDs according to the number of hats you own, or voter IDs for pets and children.

  12. MarkedMan says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Dennison is losing his shit

    I hear you, brother. Trump is increasingly incoherent. He is beginning to sound as bad as our own 1 American on a day-drinking binge.

    I’ve thought for a long time that a crisis is coming. Trump has basically trashed every endeavor he’s ever been involved with. Every business deal, every relationship, every association*. He talks big, bigger, biggest, burns through everyone else’s cash, then turns on them like a psychotic pug. And then (here’s the important part) he goes off for a while and sulks before showing up on some depraved Howard Stern knockoff show with yet another bloviating “deal”. But now he can’t storm off. Every single day he wakes up and it’s frickin’ Ground Hog Day, except everyone in this nightmare remembers what a loser he has been for the past two years. He can’t get away. Something is going to blow, physically or mentally. He has essentially stopped being president and is letting his fifth rate lackeys run things, only interfering when some moronic creature on Fox News gives him advice. My guess is he’s going to start “disappearing” for longer and longer times. Hell, if it weren’t for the tweets, there would be entire weeks where no one knew what he was up to.

    *OK, I’ll give you The Apprentice. It didn’t blow up in a Trumpian drama storm. As a cheap to produce show it hung around long enough to die a slow and pathetic death, mired in ratings oblivion but costing so little they just stuck it on a night they were going to lose anyway and forgot about it.

  13. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Franklin:

    I mean jesus christ folks, I’m smarter than the President of the United States!

    Don’t let it go to your head. A box of rocks is smarter than this president.

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  14. gVOR08 says:

    It’s sort of amazing that the president of the United States doesn’t know this or pretends he doesn’t.

    Sadly, no, it’s not even remotely surprising. And he’s not pretending.

  15. steve says:

    I get a steady barrage from friends and family of articles written by conservatives, for conservatives, talking about the voter fraud problem. They really do believe what Trump claims is really happening. Most of these articles are about problems with voter registration, and most of the rest are about absentee ballot (where the dead people voting comes from) or election official fraud. There is essentially no voter fraud that would be stopped by an ID card. For years now I have had a challenge out to them to find the kind of fraud that would be stopped by an ID and tehycant find any, but they still believe it is happening.

    Steve

  16. SenyorDave says:

    Translation – voter fraud (the issue, not the concept) = non-whites voting

    The “voter fraud issue” pushes all the right buttons for Trump’s base, which is why he pushes that issue as opposed to income inequality or the problems of the middle class. Most of his base cares about what he cares about – white nationalism.

  17. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy:

    The downside is the modules for obtaining the card are not conveniently located (though on the first issue, the government went door to door signing people up), and you have to go twice, once to register and once to pick up your card.

    Post offices. We have lots and lots of post offices. Very convenient. They can be a little pokey, but they are there. And, they could drop off the ID for you when they are doing their rounds.

    (Needs an accommodation for the homeless)

  18. Gustopher says:

    The second claim, of course, is utterly silly and it led to several hours of jokes on Twitter at Trump’s expense. You don’t need identification to buy that box of Corn Flakes, of course, although I suppose that on some level Trump can be excused for not knowing this because he most likely has not had to shop for his own groceries in decades and it’s entirely possible that he’s never actually been inside a grocery store of any kind as a customer at any point in his life.

    The NSA provided him with a list of who bought cereal, and what kind.

    From there, it’s reasonable to assume that you must show ID to buy cereal, since it is way easier to make that list if all cereal purchases are tracked. The alternative, where every cereal box has a transmitter, and reports its location, is just too absurd to think about.

  19. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Gustopher:

    The alternative, where every cereal box has a transmitter, and reports its location, is just too absurd to think about.

    Wait a minute….

    -rustling sounds from kitchen-

    OK, nothing in the cereal boxes. The Cracker Jack boxes on the other hand…

  20. gVOR08 says:

    I’m going to repeat a quote I used a couple days ago.

    The Kochs were not alone. As they sought ways to steer American politics hard to the right without having to win the popular vote, they got valuable reinforcement from a small cadre of like-minded wealthy conservative families who were harnessing their own corporate fortunes toward the same end. Philanthropy, with its guarantees of anonymity, became their chosen instrument. But their goal was patently political: to undo not just Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society and Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal but Teddy Roosevelt’s Progressive Era, too.

    – Mayer, Jane. Dark Money
    Trump’s too dumb to be the autarch of Koch’s libertarian paradise, but he, and his Republican buddies, are blazing a trail.

  21. Pylon says:

    It always amazes me that the right thinks a person will risk criminal prosecution to put in one extra vote.

    True voter fraud to be effective would involve massive tampering of machines or ballot boxes to a degree that recount scrutiny would be avoided.

  22. de stijl says:

    One bit of good news is that Kris Kobach lost his bid for governor of Kansas. The bad news is that Kris Kobach is now available for open gigs to bring White panic vote suppression to your town.

  23. de stijl says:

    It freaks me out that anyone would dissuade people from voting and purposefully make it harder / more difficult for legitimate citizens to vote.

    I called out Joyner on this years ago. This is super wrong – you have to speak up and shout this down and stop it by any legal means! He remained silently complicit.

    Vote suppression as an electoral tactic is always wrong, and we must move the world to stop it.

  24. de stijl says:

    @Pylon:

    Projection is a real psychological condition. It allows us to do very bad things and avoid the consequences of the bad behavior.

    In The Conversation we are induced by Coppola to identify with the protagonist’s surveillance subjects. Harry Caul is us, but we identify with and sympathize for the couple that Caul is hired to surveil. They walk through Union Square talking while Gene Hackman and his buds are recording them.

    “He’d kill us if he got the chance.”

    Mic drop. Boom. Paranoia has never been captured better. The conclusion of “The Conversation” is prosaic and devastating and it makes you try to reconfigure the last two hours of your life to align with this newly revealed reality.

    What happens at the end of “The Conversation” makes you question trust, and sympathy, and, obviously, surveillance and intrusion. Plus Gene Hackman at the top of his game and the supernaturally amazingly gifted John Cazale in his last role.

    People ’round the world drag us for being stupid and fixated on raw spectacle – I’m looking at you, England! But, we can really do subtle / devastating well when we fix our heads on that.

  25. de stijl says:

    It always amazes me that the right thinks a person will risk criminal prosecution to put in one extra vote.

    The Right sees us as the antithesis of themselves, but with their same motivations, paranoia, and fears only reversed. Projection is not some made-up bullshit. It really does exist.

    George Soros is the boogey man in their world because they believe that we what…? worship him, are paid by him, motivation gets kinda cloudy here I’m not quite sure what we are supposed to do besides be really appreciative of all the sweet George Soros payola.

    They believe that if they only had their own anti-George Soros, then the spheres would align and they would righteously smite us and wipe us from the planet once and for all time.

    The R wizards are using the Old Rites to summon Egroeg, the anti-Soros Palindrome!

  26. de stijl says:

    Come the first of the month, I anxiously monitor my mailbox. When Soros thwarts me, I am flummoxed (best word ever). When Soros delivers his precious check, I use the proceeds to hire local thuggish youths to harass old White people at the supermarket. They make extra if they wear a hoodie whilst doing so.

  27. Matt says:

    @Mr. Prosser: Oh man in my rural area they talked of a national ID as a mark of the beast and other evil things.

  28. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @de stijl: So the Koch brother, Sheldon Adelson, Mercers, Foster Friess, etc etc ad nauseum don’t count? Or are they the source of their projection?

  29. SC_Birdflyte says:

    @de stijl: For psychological thrillers, The Conversation is matchless. I got to see it for the first time in French (without subtitles) in Paris, later in English.

  30. Tyrell says:

    What we have is this Snypes lady down there in Florida suddenly finding thousands of more ballots in a closet somewhere, refusing to give out information, and making it up as she goes. At least when the people in Chicago rig their elections up, they have a well run scheme in place without all the embarrassing foul ups like in Florida.
    One person showed up to vote and was told he had already voted!
    Seems like the philosophy is “why try to win it when you can steal it” (Schultz!)
    On soon: “Perry Mason and The Case of the Mystery Ballots”

  31. Blue Galangal says:

    @Pylon: I know, I’ve never understood that. A handful of people might get away with voting twice, but is that going to swing any election? Maybe in a small district in Kentucky. but not in any given city. And we have enough trouble voting with lines, getting kids to school, making lunch, getting to work, etc., that you think somehow we’re going to go through all that again to risk criminal prosecution to add ONE measly vote to the pot?

    I guess if I didn’t work and have kids I could wander around all day and hope I got lucky enough to hit a polling place and guess a name that hadn’t voted yet in a way that wouldn’t immediately tip off the poll worker that I was, you know, guessing. But literally just checking a voter by name (let alone address) is enough to keep it to one person, one vote here in SW Ohio. I figure people who claim differently are people who’ve never actually voted until they had to for the TV cameras (e.g., the Trump family).

  32. James Pearce says:

    Americans of all stripes agree: the integrity of our elections is suspect.

  33. KM says:

    @Tyrell:
    Aw, I love this trope! “Found them in an X somewhere” used to imply that the finder somehow managed to create thousands of fake but somehow valid-ish ballots in an extremely short amount of time and not the logical conclusion that somebody *hid* those boxes so they wouldn’t be counted.

    Seriously, what’s more likely: being able to create, ship, stash, “find”, integrate and pass off fake ballots that still make sense demographically and statistically for the area in just a few hours seamlessly …….. or some dumb bunny bastard stuffing valid votes in the corner under a pile of junk in a busy location that a stranger finds later during clean-up? After all, they don’t have to go missing FOREVER – just until the asinine laws the GOP put in place to prevent counting legit votes by an arbitrary deadline passes. Much like with a statue of limitations, you only have to get away with hiding votes for juuuuuusssttttt long enough and poof! They don’t matter anymore!

    Why go to all the trouble of faking ballots and risking jail time when you can just… misplace…. a box or two? What’s the easier con to pull, especially for untrained morons who really, really don’t want their candidate to lose?

  34. Mikey says:

    @Franklin:

    I mean jesus christ folks, I’m smarter than the President of the United States!

    Don’t get too cocky. That’s a very low bar indeed.

  35. Just nutha says:

    @Franklin:

    I’m smarter than the President of the United States!

    In this case, not a high bar to jump, so I’ll be nice and second Mr. Prosser instead.

    @Kathy: “…though I wonder how such people regard passports.” My guess is that many in this camp don’t have one.

  36. Just nutha says:

    @de stijl:

    “… for legitimate citizens to vote.”

    That’s kind of the nefarious quality this issue has–no one is advocating that legitimate citizens be impeded from voting. They’ll tell you so themselves.

    ETA: “They believe that if they only had their own anti-George Soros…”

    They do, their’s merely acts exclusively in his own interests is the only difference. There problem is that their power brokers work against them, not for them.

  37. Guarneri says:

    It’s the damndest thing. Broward and Miami Dade every election. Golly gosh, I wonder why?