A case cited by the White House as evidence that non-citizens cast illegal votes in American elections did not actually involve any non-citizens voting, the latest in a series of misleading statements on the subject by the administration. Donald Trump’s deputy press secretary, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, referred in a television interview on Sunday to an incident in her native Arkansas, which she said supported Trump’s claims about voter fraud. Trump has repeatedly alleged, without evidence, that he lost the national popular vote to Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent, because millions of non-citizens voted illegally. His claim has been widely dismissed as a fabrication. … After the president and a senior aide revived the claims last week, Huckabee Sanders was asked on MSNBC: “Do you think that there are 3 to 5 million undocumented immigrants who cast votes, and that that would have swung the president’s election, in terms of the popular vote, his way?” Huckabee Sanders replied: “Look, I don’t know how many different voters voted illegally, but I do know that it exists. In my home state of Arkansas, there was a judge that was caught with, I think, roughly 180 ballots sitting on his kitchen table. So to pretend like voter fraud isn’t something real and doesn’t exist is laughable.”
… In a series of emails to the Guardian this week, Huckabee Sanders said she had in fact been referring to a public corruption case from 2011 that differs significantly from the description she gave in her MSNBC interview.
“It was a city councilman, not a judge,” Huckabee Sanders said in an email. In response to repeated follow-up inquiries, she confirmed that she meant the prosecution of Phillip Carter, a councilman in the city of West Memphis. Carter and several associates were caught bribing people to vote for a candidate in an election for the Arkansas house of representatives.
The FBI said Carter and other allies of Hudson Hallum, a Democratic candidate, gave residents chicken dinners, bottles of cheap vodka and small cash payments if they cast absentee ballots for Hallum. Carter, Hallum, Hallum’s father, and a police officer all pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to commit election fraud. But court filings from the case make no reference to anyone ineligible voting or trying to vote.