The ProPublica group, known collectively as Electionland, deployed over 1,000 election monitors earlier in the month to track reports of illegal voting and found no signs of infractions on the scale purported by Trump.
In a White House press briefing, Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters in response to a question about Trump’s claim: “What I can say, as an objective fact, is that there has been no evidence produced to substantiate a claim like that.”
President-elect Donald Trump gave credence to a debunked conspiracy theory that millions of people voted illegally in the Nov. 8 presidential election on Sunday, tweeting that he would have won the poplar vote if not for rampant voter fraud.
In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2016
Trump is known for spreading conspiracy theories even prior to his campaign. Highlights include claiming President Obama wasn’t a U.S. citizen, Cruz’s father helped assassinate JFK, and the election would be rigged in Hillary Clinton’s favor.
However, with the election over and Trump all but the official winner with Electoral College voting on Dec. 19, many thought claims of voter fraud would die down. However, it was not to be.
The origin of the claim comes from the Alex Jones and the Infowars.com website. On Nov. 14, Jones ran a story with the headline “Report: 3 million votes in presidential election cast by illegal aliens”. The author of the study cited in the story has released no evidence to back his claim. Politico notes that Alex Jones also pushes theories such as the possibility that Hillary Clinton is a demon from hell, as well as the idea that the Sandy Hook massacre never actually happened.
So just how rare is voter fraud by non-citizens in the U.S.? According to experts, it’s very rare.
“We know historically that this almost never happens,” said David Becker, executive director at the Center for Election Innovation and Research. “You’re more likely to get eaten by a shark that simultaneously gets hit by lightning than to find a noncitizen voting.”
Trump, however, does not seem bothered by these facts. On Sunday he continued to tweet, again with no proof, about voter fraud during the general election.
Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California – so why isn't the media reporting on this? Serious bias – big problem!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2016
Clinton won all three states referenced by Trump. It appears Trump is rankled by Hillary Clinton winning the popular vote by more than 2 million ballots. That number is expected to rise as recounts begin to take place. However, Trump won 306 electoral votes, with only 270 required for presidential victory.
It is highly unlikely that the recounts will change the electoral count enough to flip the result of the election.
Still, Trump appears angry the recount is taking place at all. However, the question has to be asked: With Trump as the declared winner, what does he seek to gain by putting forth these conspiracies theories?
[Politifact] [AP] [Politico] [Washington Post] [Bloomberg] [Reuters] [Photo courtesy AP via Washington Times]