News & Politics

Virginia Elections Commissioner Shoots Down Trump’s Voter Fraud Claim

Photograph via iStock.

Edgardo Cortés, the top official overseeing elections in Virginia, says the November 8 election was conducted freely and fairly, despite President-elect Donald Trump‘s claim Sunday night that the commonwealth saw “serious voter fraud” en route to delivering its 13 electoral votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.

“Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California – so why isn’t the media reporting on this? Serious bias – big problem!” Trump wrote in a tweet.

At least in the case of Virginia, there were no signs of fraud on Election Day, according to Cortés, the state’s elections commissioner.

“The claims of voter fraud in Virginia during the November 8 election are unfounded,” Cortés says in a statement emailed to Washingtonian. “Virginia’s election was well administered by our 133 professional local registrars, with help from hundreds of election officials and volunteers who worked to guarantee a good experience for eligible Virginia voters. The election was fair and all votes cast by eligible voters were accurately counted.”

Clinton won Virginia with a 49.8 percent of the vote while Trump got 44.4 percent, according to results tabulated by Cortés’s department. She also leads in the national popular vote by more than 2.2 million.

Trump’s baseless claim about voter fraud in Virginia came a few hours after Trump let off a string of other tweets in which he suggested—also without evidence—that Clinton only won the popular vote thanks to “millions of people who voted illegally.” The claim has also been pushed by Alex Jones, a Texas-based radio host who peddles numerous conspiracy theories and has been an outspoken supporter of the president-elect.

Despite clamoring from Trump and other Republicans that voter fraud is rampant, it is exceedingly rare in the United States. A 2014 report by Loyola Law School, Los Angeles professor Justin Levitt found that out of more than 1 billion ballots cast in US elections between 2000 and 2014, there were only 31 credible instances of voter impersonation.

Officials in California and New Hampshire have also pushed back on Trump’s claims of voter fraud there.

Staff Writer

Benjamin Freed joined Washingtonian in August 2013 and covers politics, business, and media. He was previously the editor of DCist and has also written for Washington City Paper, the New York Times, the New Republic, Slate, and BuzzFeed. He lives in Adams Morgan.