On Monday’s edition of NPR’s “All Things Considered, Tamara Keith trashed the evidence offered by President-elect Donald Trump’s Transition team to support Trump’s claim that “millions” voted illegally in the presidential election, and “Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California“:
AUDIE CORNISH: Now, Donald Trump independently put out this claim about illegal voting. Has he or his transition team come forward with any evidence to back that up?
TAMARA KEITH: I asked them for that very thing today during a daily – its – the daily briefing call with reporters. Jason Miller, a Trump spokesman, responded by citing a 2014 study about noncitizens registering to vote. But that study has been thoroughly debunked, including by the people who produced the data that it was based on.
And he also pointed to a Pew Research report about redundant voter registrations. That shows poor record keeping, but it did not even address the idea of voter fraud. So still there is no evidence of the type of widespread fraud in 2016 that Donald Trump claimed in his tweets. And election officials in all the states he mentioned in his tweets have also denied any evidence of widespread fraud.
If you want to learn more about what Jason Miller actually said go here.
Keith was apparently referring to this Oct. 24, 2016, four Pinocchio “fact-checking” from the Washington Post, which “debunked” Eric Trump’s reliance upon the same 2014 Washington Post study Miller offered as evidence Monday:
The Trump campaign is using this research to falsely claim that illegal immigrants are voting in and tipping elections.
Old Dominion University professors Jesse Richman and David Earnest studied voting participation rates of noncitizens by using data from 2008 and 2010 collected through the Cooperative Congressional Election Studies. This data set comes from a YouGov-Polimetrix opt-in Internet survey. Researchers were able to cross-check 40 percent of the data they collected from 2008.
Based on results from 339 noncitizen respondents in 2008 and 489 in 2010, researchers found that more than 14 percent of noncitizens in the 2008 and 2010 samples said they were registered to vote.
[. . .]
The original column on Monkey Cage includes this editor’s note at the beginning of the article: The post occasioned three rebuttals (here, here and here) as well as a response from the authors. Subsequently, another peer-reviewed article argued that the findings reported in this post (and affiliated article) were biased and that the authors’ data do not provide evidence of noncitizen voting in U.S. elections.
Stephen Ansolabehere, who created and runs the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (used in the research by Richman and Earnest), and two other researchers offered the most thorough critique. They replicated the research by interviewing the same panel of respondents about their voting patterns in 2010 and 2012. They found that people had identified as a citizen one year, but noncitizen the next — indicating misclassification.
They concluded that all of the cases of noncitizen voting “are nearly certainly citizen voters who are misclassified as being noncitizens.
Michelle Ye Hee Lee, the author of the 2014 fact-check, wrote another four Pinocchio “fact-check” on Oct. 19, 2016 hitting the Trump campaign’s reliance on the 2012 Pew Center Pew Research study that said approximately 24 million, or one out of every eight, voter registrations in the United States are no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate, which also offered up by Miller as evidence on Monday.
But that wasn’t enough for the Post. Glenn Kessler wrote a more vehement four Pinocchio “fact-check” of Donald Trump’s claim on Sunday. Then Michelle Ye Hee Lee hit Miller with another four Pinocchios today for “misuse” of both studies.
It became clear long ago that the Post’s fact-checking is no more nonpartisan then was their presidential campaign coverage. Nevertheless, there are legitimate concerns about the report and study Miller relied upon. So-called “fact checkers,” like those at the Washington Post, may go nuclear over those concerns, but the Heritage Foundation, while critical, still finds value in this “evidence.”
According to Fred Lucas, it is estimated that more than 800,000 noncitizens voted in the 2016 election and voted overwhelmingly for Hillary Clinton. Lucas notes that doesn’t overcome Clinton’s 2.2 million popular vote lead over Republican President-elect Donald Trump:
“Extrapolating on data from several years ago certainly doesn’t substantiate the claim that Trump is making now,” Jesse Richman, an associate professor of political science at Old Dominion University, told The Daily Signal. “That could change. If there is a recount in Michigan and Trump loses by a few votes, then it’s very plausible that noncitizen voting made a big difference. Hopefully, it doesn’t come to that.”
Richman was the co-author of a 2014 study that looked at noncitizen voting in the 2008 and 2010 elections. In the comparable presidential election year, the Old Dominion study determined 6.4 percent on noncitizens in the United States voted in the 2008 presidential election, and about 81 percent of those voters backed Democrat Barack Obama.
When Richman applies those numbers to the 2016 election, he finds that about 834,318 illegal votes might have been added to Clinton’s popular vote margin.
Lucas also notes a December 2015 Harvard University study that argued the 2014 Old Dominion study was flawed and that “the likely percent of noncitizen voters in recent U.S. elections is zero.” Richman responded to that criticism and said suggesting zero percent does not hold up.
Lucas quoted Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow with The Heritage Foundation as saying Trump might be right about the number of illegal votes, but there is no way to know:
It’s possible he’s right, but we don’t know because there is no way to quantify, no system in place to identify noncitizens voting. The Department of Justice and Department of Homeland Security should obtain state voter registration lists and check against noncitizen database. And the DOJ should start prosecuting noncitizens who are voting.
Trump and his team need to be more precise in their assertions about voter fraud and illegal voting. There is cause for concern, even if it is not as great as claimed by Trump and company. Voter fraud and illegal voting are legitimate issues that must be taken seriously to ensure confidence in election results.
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