STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

Election experts say Kris Kobach's voter fraud claims are misleading

Kris Kobach, the former vice-chair of President Donald Trump's now-disbanded commission on election integrit...

Posted: Aug 8, 2018 12:06 PM
Updated: Aug 8, 2018 12:06 PM

Kris Kobach, the former vice-chair of President Donald Trump's now-disbanded commission on election integrity, and Maine's Democratic Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap have engaged in a public back and forth over the issue of voter fraud, with Kobach accusing Dunlap, a former member of the commission, of being "willfully blind to the voter fraud in front of his nose," and Dunlap claiming that the commission failed to find evidence of widespread fraud.

But election experts say that Kobach's claims are misleading and obscure the reality that voter fraud is rare in the context of the more than 1 billion votes cast since 2000.

2016 Presidential election

Election fraud

Election results

Elections (by type)

Elections and campaigns

Government and public administration

Kris Kobach

Matthew Dunlap

Political candidates

Political corruption

Political Figures - US

Politics

US Federal elections

US Presidential elections

Voters and voting

In a statement sent to CNN on Saturday claiming that Dunlap is "willfully blind," Kobach, who serves as Kansas' Republican secretary of state, said that the commission "was presented with more than 1,000 convictions for voter fraud since the year 2000." Kobach further claimed that this finding was only a fraction of the total and said that the "commission was also presented approximately 8,400 instances of double voting in the 2016 election looking only at 20 states."

The statement did not cite sources for the numbers and Kobach's office did not respond to a CNN request asking what evidence the information was based on.

Three election experts interviewed by CNN, however, cast doubt on the claims made by Kobach, a noted proponent of voter fraud theories and related policies. For example, in 2016, Kobach supported Trump's false claim that "millions of people" voted illegally for Hillary Clinton in that year's presidential election.

Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles; Lorraine Minnite, a professor at Rutgers University-Camden; and Charles Stewart, a professor at MIT, all pointed out that while there have been isolated instances of voter fraud, there is no substantial evidence to indicate that it is a widespread problem in US elections and any assertions to the contrary are inaccurate.

"There isn't any reliable evidence that voter fraud is the kind of problem that Kris Kobach says it is," Minnite said. "I would never say that voter fraud never happens. But with respect to fraud committed by voters, there is very little evidence that this is any kind of a problem in American elections and Kobach needs to stop putting out information to the public that is misleading in suggesting that there is a problem."

Stewart said that it's important to "balance out" Kobach's assertion that the commission was presented with over 1,000 convictions, "with the number of votes cast since 2000, which is over a billion." He added, "on the face of what Kobach presents, it would be hard to argue that there is any large-scale issue."

Levitt, who has conducted extensive research on voter fraud allegations, said it appears Kobach may be basing the claim that the commission was presented with "approximately 8,400 instances of double voting in the 2016 election" on a report from the conservative nonprofit Government Accountability Institute. But if that's the case, Levitt said that Kobach inaccurately represented the information in the report.

"The report itself does not say that there were about 8,400 instances of double voting in the 2016 election," said Levitt, who also served as national voter protection counsel for Barack Obama's presidential campaign in 2008.

Instead, the report identified 8,471 instances of what it described as "highly likely" cases of duplicate voting, according to the researchers' criteria, that the report recommended be further investigated.

Minnite and Levitt said that Kobach's claim that the commission was presented with more than 1,000 convictions for voter fraud since 2000 may be based on data compiled by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. But both said there are key caveats that need to be taken into consideration.

"That report includes misconduct by election officials and other insiders that can't be attributed to voters, so that's important to note," Levitt said. "But even just including incidents back to 2000, that's over a time frame that includes well over a billion votes cast. So it's important to consider the context and the bigger picture so as not to distort the reality of the situation."

Kobach's office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 486434

Reported Deaths: 6575
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1009131586
Ramsey43165803
Dakota36375392
Anoka33335388
Washington22121258
Stearns18752201
St. Louis14822263
Scott13308107
Wright12538116
Olmsted1181788
Sherburne874172
Carver775640
Clay692387
Rice670791
Blue Earth596635
Kandiyohi579674
Crow Wing521282
Chisago499545
Otter Tail483270
Benton447790
Winona418549
Mower405731
Douglas393368
Nobles387247
Goodhue386269
Polk343763
McLeod340049
Beltrami338651
Morrison324747
Itasca313646
Lyon313644
Becker312542
Isanti306756
Steele301511
Carlton300149
Freeborn282623
Pine282016
Nicollet259241
Todd248330
Brown245537
Le Sueur235720
Mille Lacs227947
Cass220424
Waseca209317
Meeker207434
Martin189928
Wabasha18673
Roseau180317
Hubbard160740
Houston157414
Dodge15294
Renville150340
Redwood147027
Fillmore13768
Chippewa136735
Pennington136316
Cottonwood135020
Wadena131020
Faribault123417
Aitkin119033
Watonwan11758
Sibley117310
Rock115914
Kanabec107519
Pipestone101624
Yellow Medicine97617
Murray9488
Jackson93610
Swift87918
Pope8075
Marshall78015
Lake74218
Stevens7418
Clearwater71914
Lac qui Parle68516
Wilkin67411
Koochiching61911
Big Stone5163
Lincoln5092
Grant4918
Norman4788
Unassigned44568
Mahnomen4417
Kittson40921
Red Lake3625
Traverse3075
Lake of the Woods2191
Cook1180

Iowa Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 335218

Reported Deaths: 5443
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk51785551
Linn19463313
Scott17080210
Black Hawk14924292
Woodbury13778212
Johnson1312174
Dubuque12416194
Dallas1019092
Pottawattamie9828143
Story959345
Warren511674
Clinton500784
Cerro Gordo498882
Webster494487
Sioux479169
Marshall463072
Des Moines427161
Muscatine424191
Buena Vista412237
Wapello4025108
Jasper386266
Plymouth367478
Lee354252
Marion339869
Jones284654
Henry279637
Bremer268754
Carroll266349
Crawford252235
Boone242830
Benton240354
Washington239047
Mahaska215246
Jackson209738
Dickinson202440
Tama202365
Kossuth198055
Delaware185540
Clay183825
Winneshiek182827
Fayette178635
Page177819
Buchanan176929
Wright173831
Hamilton173742
Cedar171523
Hardin169439
Harrison167169
Clayton159854
Butler158831
Mills147920
Floyd147741
Poweshiek147730
Lyon145541
Cherokee145336
Allamakee142347
Madison141918
Iowa139423
Hancock137630
Grundy132030
Winnebago130231
Calhoun129311
Cass128751
Jefferson128334
Appanoose123147
Louisa122341
Mitchell120440
Chickasaw119615
Union118731
Sac118318
Shelby116433
Emmet115040
Humboldt113525
Franklin109019
Guthrie108928
Palo Alto100921
Howard99021
Montgomery96736
Clarke94720
Keokuk92029
Monroe89428
Adair81028
Ida81032
Pocahontas80919
Davis76323
Monona76327
Greene72910
Lucas71421
Osceola68215
Worth6667
Taylor64112
Decatur5699
Fremont5599
Van Buren53718
Ringgold50520
Audubon4739
Wayne45821
Adams3184
Unassigned00
Rochester/St. Mary'S
Partly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 26°
Feels Like: 32°
Mason City
Partly Cloudy
30° wxIcon
Hi: 47° Lo: 29°
Feels Like: 23°
Albert Lea
Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 29°
Austin
Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 29°
Charles City
Mostly Cloudy
32° wxIcon
Hi: 46° Lo: 27°
Feels Like: 25°
Several days of mild weather expected
KIMT Radar
KIMT Eye in the sky

Latest Video

Image

SAW: Kasson-Mantorville KoMettes

Image

Local nonprofit takes huge hit during pandemic

Image

Johnson and Johnson Vaccine arrives

Image

OMC thankful for Kid's Cup and generous donations

Image

Aaron's Wednesday Night Forecast

Image

Aaron's Wednesday Evening Forecast

Image

Minnesota lawmakers consider bill to narrow pay gap

Image

Fiber optic network coming to Mason City

Image

Fewer colonoscopies done during pandemic

Image

Preventing pay discrimination act

Community Events