The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity relies on a database produced by the Heritage Foundation to justify baseless claims — by President Trump and some of the panel’s members — of rampant voter fraud. But according to an analysis of the database by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, the numbers in the database reveal exactly the opposite. Claims that the database contains almost 1,100 proven instances of voter fraud are grossly exaggerated and devoid of context, according to Heritage Fraud Database: An Assessment. It confirms what numerous studies have consistently shown: Voter fraud is vanishingly rare, and impersonating a voter at the polls is less common a phenomenon than being struck by lightning. “The database includes an assortment of cases, many unrelated or tangentially related, going back decades, with only a handful pertaining to non-citizens voting or impersonation at the polls,” writes the author. “They add up to a molecular fraction of the total votes cast nationwide. Inadvertently, the Heritage Foundation’s database undermines its claim of widespread voter fraud.
… “It’s been clear for months that this Commission is premised on the lie that widespread voter fraud exists in America. This database is the latest attempt by some of the Commission’s members to propagate that lie,” said Rudy Mehrbani, Spitzer fellow and senior counsel in the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program and lead author of the analysis. “A quick dive into Heritage’s database reveals a completely different picture than the top-line talking point suggests, and the consequences to voters could be severe.”
“It is distressing that a Commission whose work could affect Americans’ most fundamental rights is promoting and relying on spin rather than legitimate, accepted, and professionally-reviewed research,” said Wendy Weiser, director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “It couldn’t be clearer that the Commission is not approaching its charge with an open mind. The primary sources of alleged evidence of widespread fraud are the commissioners themselves.”