“Then he’s groveling again. You know I always talk about the reporters that grovel when they want to write something that you want to hear but not necessarily millions of people want to hear or have to hear.” — President Trump, interview with ABC News, Jan. 25, 2017
For the first time since taking office, President Trump addressed the 2012 Pew Center on the States report that he and his staff have repeatedly — and unsuccessfully — used to support his claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 election. Trump once again referred to a 2012 Pew report as evidence of widespread voter fraud. When David Muir of ABC News noted the study’s author said he found no evidence of voter fraud, Trump said: “Excuse me, then why did he write the report?” Then Trump claimed the author was “groveling.” Really? The Facts No. David Becker, who directed the research for the Pew report, has said since the report’s release in February 2012 that there was no evidence of fraud from his findings. The report, instead, found problems with inaccurate voter registrations, people who registered in more than one state (which could happen if the voter moves and registers in the new state without telling the former state) and deceased voters whose information was still on the voter rolls. Trump did reference these other findings correctly in the interview — but then claimed these findings are evidence of fraud.
In a February 2012 Q&A about the study’s findings, Becker specifically said researchers did not find evidence of voter fraud:
Q. Are these problems leading either to fraud or to efforts to keep eligible people from voting?
A. We have not seen evidence of that. These problems really are the result of an antiquated system — one that relies almost exclusively on 19th and 20th century technologies (paper and mail) to serve a 21st century, highly mobile society. About one in eight Americans moved during each of the 2008 and 2010 election years. Some Americans — including those serving in the military, young people and those living in communities affected by the economic downturn — are even more mobile.
One in four voters assumes that election officials or the U.S. Postal Service updates registrations automatically with each move, even though that is almost never the case, and about half of all voters don’t know they can update their registration at a motor vehicles office.
Election offices often are flooded with millions of paper registration applications from third-party voter registration drives right before Election Day, at a time when their resources are stretched the most.