Yet Again, Vanishingly Little Evidence of Voter Fraud

What's smaller than minuscule?

Via the AP: Few AZ voter fraud cases, discrediting Trump’s claims.

An Associated Press investigation found 182 cases where problems were clear enough that officials referred them to investigators for further review. So far, only four cases have led to charges, including those identified in a separate state investigation. No one has been convicted. No person’s vote was counted twice.

While it’s possible more cases could emerge, the numbers illustrate the implausibility of Trump’s claims that fraud and irregularities in Arizona cost him the state’s electorate votes. In final, certified and audited results, Biden won 10,400 more votes than Trump out of 3.4 million cast.


The majority of cases identified so far involve people casting a ballot for a relative who had died or people who tried to cast two ballots.


Arizona’s potential cases also illustrate another reality: Voter fraud is often bipartisan. Of the four Arizona cases that have resulted in criminal charges, two involved Democratic voters and two involved Republicans.

So, let’s let the absurdity of all this sink in: four prosecuted cases of voter fraud. FOUR. This is out of over 3.4 million votes cast and they would have cancelled each other out had they not been caught.

Most of the problems appear to be cases of people attempting to vote twice: first by mail and then in person. But the piece also notes “None of the 176 duplicate ballots was counted twice.” This fact simply underscores that there are safeguards in the system.

Aside from double voting, the cases flagged by officials mostly involved a ballot cast after someone had died, including three voters in Yavapai County who face felony charges for casting ballots for spouses who died before the election.

In Yuma County, one case of a voter attempting to cast two ballots was sent to the county attorney for review. Chief Civil Deputy William Kerekus told the AP that there was no intent at voter fraud and the case was closed without charges.

Cochise County Recorder David Stevens found mail-in ballots were received from two voters who died before mail ballots were sent in early October. Sheriff’s deputies investigating the cases found their homes were vacant and closed the cases. The votes were not counted.

All of this reminds me of the conversation I had with the folks from the Heritage Foundation wherein the argument was made that their database was proof that, yes, in fact, electoral fraud and other election-related crimes exist (see past post here and here in particular). But it also reminds me of what I tried to point out to them at the time: the scale is such as to not matter in any meaningful way. Indeed, I would wager the odds are that there are more ballot with errors on them than ballots that were malicious fraudulent votes.

The pattern can be seen in other states:

The results in Arizona are similar to early findings in other battleground states. Local election officials in Wisconsin identified just 27 potential cases of voter fraud out of 3.3 million ballots cast last November, according to records obtained by the AP under the state’s open records law. Potential voter fraud cases in other states where Trump and his allies mounted challenges have so far amounted to just a tiny fraction of Trump’s losing margin in those states.

So the beat goes on: there is only evidence of extremely limited illegal voting in the US. Further, this mniscule attempts are frequently caught.

And all of this forces me to conclude, yet again, that the evidence that we need tighter restrictions on voting to maintain electoral “integrity” continues to fail to materialize.

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Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter


  1. gVOR08 says:

    All of which would matter if it were about vote integrity and not about vote suppression and performative outrage to impress the base.

  2. JohnMcC says:

    Sadly, many stop-the-steal activists will see those small numbers as proof that ‘the establishment’ is either incompetent at protecting the ballot or complicit in the fraud. You knew that already of course. The whole world knows it, that the conservative movement has reached it’s ‘Know Nothing’ phase.

  3. Kathy says:

    What’s smaller than minuscule?


  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    What is needed to maintain electoral “integrity” is a gag on Republicans so they can’t make fraudulent attacks on the integrity of our electoral systems.

  5. mattbernius says:

    I look forward to Cliff, JKB (who flirted with voting stuff a few times), or that guy who showed up just after the election demanding recounts, to tell you why this is wrong.

    Hopefully they might also address the results of the Kraken hearing too. I remember JKB talking about the problems with Voting Machines in Michigan.

  6. Michael Cain says:

    Even the Republicans implicitly admit that there’s not enough “retail” fraud to matter. All of the major claims put forth after the 2020 elections were “wholesale” fraud — tens of thousands, or hundreds of thousands, of fraudulent uncast ballots introduced into the counting stream. As an example, consider that the “auditors” in AZ actually spent time looking for watermarks and bamboo shards, in hopes of proving that fake ballots were inserted. Not cast at the polls, or filled out and returned by mail, but imported from China and run through the counting machines.

  7. de stijl says:

    We are two election cycles away from becoming Hungary.

    It could not happen here? Bullshit!

    This year two states have stripped roles and responsibilities from the state officials responsible for elections.

    Hey! What happened to Critical Race Theory? Three weeks ago it was as big as Hunter Biden’s laptop.

  8. CSK says:

    An Associated Press investigation? Please.Everyone knows the AP only produces Fake News.

  9. Scott F. says:

    Exactly. When the Republican project is voter suppression, scale is kind of beside the point. If there is any fraud, then it is possible there is FRAUD! And if there’s FRAUD, it was all done by the Democrats since the simply couldn’t be winning on their ideas for the country.

  10. Ken_L says:

    Most of the problems appear to be cases of people attempting to vote twice: first by mail and then in person.

    If memory serves me correctly, the former guy urged his supporters to do exactly that, to check whether the system worked. No doubt he’ll be gratified to learn that it did, and rush to compensate the guinea pigs for participating in his experiment.