democracy is a work in progress

Voting Rights, Gerrymandering, Voter Suppression, and more

Problem Brief


Frequently Asked Questions

How common is voter fraud?

The short answer: voter fraud is not very common.

Studies of voter fraud have found no evidence to suggest it is a widespread problem nor one that has affected the outcome of any race. The consensus from credible research and investigation is that the rate of illegal voting is extremely rare, and the incidence of certain types of fraud – such as impersonating another voter – is virtually nonexistent. The Brennan Center for Justice provides links to over 30 studies and court filings on voter fraud claims.

One source often cited to support fraud claims, The Heritage Foundation’s database of over 1000 alleged cases of voter fraud, includes cases spread over a 30-year period – that’s about 70 alleged cases every election cycle, occurring in far fewer than 1% of electoral races. The Brennan Center reviewed this database and found that it was “grossly exaggerated and devoid of context.”

Despite repeated claims that millions have voted illegally, examination after examination of such fraud claims reveals that fraud is very rare and voter impersonation is nearly non-existent. Many of the problems associated with alleged fraud relates to unintentional mistakes by voters or election administrators.

Contributors: George LinzerMichael Deal, Kyle Mullins

Reviewed by: Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress

Published: December 5, 2019

Updated: March 15, 2021March 5, 2020

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