Topeka Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said Wednesday, without providing evidence, that he agrees with President-elect Donald Trump’s assertion that the number of illegal votes cast in the Nov. 8 general election exceeded Democrat Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory in the popular vote.
Trump made that assertion in a Twitter post on Tuesday. It has been roundly refuted by election officials in most states.
National election totals reported so far show Clinton won the popular vote by about 2.2 million ballots, but lost the electoral vote, 306-232. Although recounts are underway in a handful of states, they are not expected to change the results.
Speaking with reporters after a meeting of the State Board of Canvassers, which certified the results of the election in Kansas, Kobach said as many as 3.2 million votes may have been cast illegally by non-U.S. citizens.
The Kansas State Board of Canvassers, which includes Gov. Sam Brownback, Kobach, Deputy Attorney General Athena Andaya, met Wednesday to certify results of the 2016 elections in Kansas. Kobach said afterward that he accepts President-elect Donald Trump’s assertion that the number of illegal votes cast in the election exceeded Democrat Hillary Clinton’s margin of victory in the popular vote.
Kobach said his estimate of 3.2 million illegal votes was based on a study, roundly criticized in academic circles, conducted at Old Dominion University that was based on polling data from the 2008 and 2010 elections by the Cooperative Congressional Election Survey, a project of Harvard University.
Kobach said that study estimated that as many as 11.3 percent of non-U.S. citizens living in the country, both legally and illegally, reported that they had voted in in the 2008 and 2010 elections.
Extrapolating from that, Kobach said, it would be “reasonable” to assume that 11 percent of the estimated 28 million noncitizens now living in the U.S., or 3.2 million people, voted illegally in 2016.
“Can you necessarily conclude that all of them voted for Hillary Clinton?” Kobach asked rhetorically. “No, but you can probably conclude that a very high percentage voted for Hillary Clinton given the diametric opposite positions of the two candidates on the immigration issue.”
In fact, however, Kobach overstated the study’s findings, which were originally published in the journal Electoral Studies.
“Our best guess, based upon extrapolations from the portion of the sample with a verified vote, is that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in 2008 and 2.2 percent of non-citizens voted in 2010,” the authors of that study, Jesse Richman and David Earnest, wrote in an Oct. 24, 2014, blog post on the Washington Post website.
Kobach would not comment on the possibility he may receive an appointment in the incoming Trump administration. But last week, he met personally with Trump and was photographed going into the meeting holding a “strategic plan” for the Department of Homeland Security, portions of which were visible to cameras.
That document included, among other things, proposed changes to the National Voter Registration Act, which plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit have used to block enforcement of a Kansas law that Kobach championed, requiring new voters in Kansas to show proof of U.S. citizenship in order to register.
Related story: Trump team struggles for proof of his charge of vote fraud
By Anita Kumar and David Goldstein, McClatchy Washington Bureau (Tribune News Service)
WASHINGTON — President-elect Donald Trump’s team strove Monday to back up his claim of vote fraud, though they produced no evidence and two reports they did cite were from years ago and did not point to fraud even then.
Trump set off the brouhaha by charging Sunday that millions of people had voted illegally and deprived him of a popular-vote victory, and also that there was unspecified vote fraud in three states he lost: California, New Hampshire and Virginia.
“I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” Trump said in one tweet.
As independent fact-checkers said there was no evidence of either charge, Trump spokesman Jason Miller referred to two reports in the past.
“So all these are studies and examples of where there have been issues of both voter fraud and illegal immigrants voting,” Miller told reporters.
One was a Washington Post story from 2014 about whether voting by noncitizens could decide control of the Senate. But those results were subsequently challenged.
The other was a Pew Charitable Trust report from 2012 that found that state voter registration lists were not up-to-date, largely because of poor record keeping. It found that 2.75 million people at that time were registered in more than one state, that 1.8 million names on state voter registrations were for dead people and that 1 out of every 8 voter registrations was either invalid or “significantly inaccurate.”
But the primary author of the Pew study said fraud was not a factor.
“They are misinterpreting” with regard to any finding of fraud, said David Becker, who at the time was the director of Pew’s elections program. “I oversaw the entire report, start to finish. There was not a finding of fraud whatsoever.”
Becker, now the executive director for the Center for Election Innovation and Research, said the report looked into inefficiencies of the voter registration system that led to out-of-date records remaining on the lists.
“These were not results from fraud or any intentional act,” he said, but the result of not “keeping up with people as they move and some cases when they die.”
Myrna Perez, director of voting rights and elections project at Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of law, said that numbers like 2.75 million people being registered to vote in two states might sound like fraud. But it doesn’t mean people are voting in two states. It just means they moved between elections and haven’t changed, or been notified to change, their former registrations.
“There has been no evidence produced to substantiate a claim like that,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said Monday before referring reporters to the Trump transition team.
Cristobal Alex, the president of Latino Victory Fund, which works to have Latinos reflected at every level of government, said the allegations are “outright false and have been debunked many times.”
“The president-elect of the United States should not be casting doubts or spreading lies about the election results, but then again this isn’t the first time that Trump cries wolf on voter fraud,” he said.