The Voter Fraud Lie We Can’t Shake

This piece originally ran in The New York Times

Early voting is underway, and according to Donald J. Trump, so is voter fraud. Almost daily, he proclaims that “large-scale voter fraud” is happening and that the election is “rigged.” Politicians across the spectrum have criticized this nonsense as divorced from reality, deleterious to our democracy and unprecedented in our elections.

It’s good to see such a strong, bipartisan pushback, but the critics are wrong on that last point. Thinly supported allegations of electoral malfeasance have been deployed throughout American history, often by those who want to restrict the vote.

In the Jim Crow South, discriminatory devices from poll taxes to all-white primaries were justified as a means of fraud prevention. In 1902, Texas adopted a poll tax. Its champions argued in The Dallas Morning News that the tax would prevent fraud and protect against “corrupt methods at the polls.” Their reasoning? If casting a vote is free, then poor people will sell their votes “for a trifle.”

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Janine Williams

The real voter fraud perpetrated on the American public is the lie that every vote counts. My vote and the votes of thousands have never counted in any presidential election because of the electoral college system. This is the fraud we should be concerned about.


I found your article very interesting and would like to know more. With everyone agreeing that there are about 11 million people in the country illegally, it is not surprising that many want greater restrictions to assure those people don't vote. You cited one study on voter fraud. Are there others? I think people want hard evidence that voter fraud is not suppressing the votes of legal voters.


u r a twat


u r a twat

Derek Kerton


Russell's Teapot.

Kevin Loughrey

Trillions of dollars at stake, over 100 million voters, yet voter fraud is not a problem. Every illegal vote is voter suppression of one legal voter who went to the polls. Voter ID laws are what the ACLU should be fighting for, not against.

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