Secretary of State Dennis Richardson announced last week that his office has uncovered 54 instances of what could be voter fraud during Oregon’s November 2016 election. The announcement comes at a time when the nation still is dealing with unproven allegations that millions of people voted illegally during the election, a claim that led to the establishment of a presidential commission on electoral integrity. We still think that commission is pursuing a not-so-secret agenda to impose tighter restrictions on voting, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility that it will simply run out of steam.
Last week’s report from Richardson doesn’t seem likely to add much fuel to the national fire. Although 54 possible instances of election fraud in Oregon contradicts an earlier claim from Richardson that voter fraud is virtually nonexistent in the state, this falls considerably short of being an epidemic: In fact, it works out to be one suspicious ballot out of every 38,000 cast. In terms of percentages, it represents about 0.002 percent of all votes cast. (Richardson also noted that the suspicious ballots did not play a role in determining the outcome of any election or race.)
And it seems unlikely that all 54 of those cases will pan out as actual fraud: Richardson’s office turned over information about the cases to the attorney general’s office for possible criminal prosecution. A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice said it was reviewing the information sent over by Richardson.