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Policy Report Democracy & Voting Rights

Debunking the Myth of Voter Fraud in Mail Ballots

The UCLA Voting Rights Project found that voter fraud in vote-by-mail ballots was virtually nonexistent, eliminating the concern as advocates push for universal vote by mail amid the COVID-19 pandemic.


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The UCLA Voting Rights Project found that voter fraud in vote-by-mail ballots was virtually nonexistent, eliminating the concern as advocates push for universal vote by mail amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Overview:

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced many to remain at home and avoid crowds to decrease the spread of the disease as many states move to implement stay-at-home orders; however, this has left many voters concerned with how future elections will take place. The UCLA Voting Rights Project (UCLA VRP) finds that vote-by-mail is secure and does not lead to an increase in voter fraud. The UCLA Voting Rights Project compiled existing research on vote-by-mail fraud and confirms that it is a rare occurrence, despite unfounded claims made recently by political officials. The UCLA VRP’s report finds that assertions regarding mass voter fraud are verifiably false and that concerns about mail-in ballot abuse are significantly disproportionate to its frequency. The UCLA VRP continues to push for the implementation of universal vote by mail for upcoming primaries and the November general election out of concern that the current public health crisis and efforts to encourage physical distancing will depress voter turnout, particularly for voters of color and other underrepresented groups.

 

Key Findings:

  • – Fraud is ineffective in influencing the outcome of an election as a result of the long standing laws and penalties implemented to prevent it from taking place. 
  • – Research covering a wide range of election years suggests that voter fraud through vote-by-mail programs is extremely rare, and actually increases voter turnout. In fact, researchers found only 31 credible incidents of voter impersonation in an investigation of over 1 billion votes cast nationally since 2000. 
  • – Requiring in-person voting will disenfranchise many voters, particularly racial and ethnic minorities, if forced to choose between their health or their right to vote. 
  • – Vote-by-mail does not increase voter fraud, it actually offers increased security benefits to the current voting system in place.
  • – The 2020 November general election must implement vote-by-mail programs to ensure that no voter is forced to choose between their right to vote and their safety amid the COVID-19 pandemic.