Trump claims, without any evidence, that he actually won the popular vote in the election despite the official count showing that he didn’t. He claims that it was massive voter fraud which led Hillary to win the popular vote by 2.8 million. He later said that 3-5 million votes were illegal and that these votes caused Hillary to beat him in the popular vote. He tried to back up his claims using a debunked study which showed that a high rate of non-citizen voters were voting in national elections. However, if Trump is claiming that these 3-5 million “illegal votes” are coming from non-citizen voters, a recent report from Ohio proves that his “math” just doesn’t add up.
The report, put out by Ohio secretary of state Jon Husted, showed that 385 non-citizens within the state were illegally registered to vote. It also showed that 82 of these 385 non-citizens cast ballots in at least one election. For some reason, the report was presented in such a way that made it sound like all 82 votes came in during the 2016 presidential election. In fact, only 7 non-citizens voted in Ohio during the 2016 election.
However, the theme of this post will be generosity. Let’s generously assume that the future Republican candidate for governor is not just presenting numbers this way for the benefit of his party, and that he just forgets to specify that these 82 votes didn’t all come in during this last election.
For the purposes of this article, we’re going to use the number 85 (rounding up from 82) instead of the 7 that actually voted (other states might experience much higher rates of non-citizen voting than Ohio). This is voter fraud. It is illegal for any non-citizen to vote at the national level. So, let’s be a little nice to President Trump and concede to the fact that voter fraud does happen. However, Trump’s claim was not just that voter fraud happens, but that it’s happening in the millions (3-5 million).
Trump’s claims about millions of illegal citizens voting come nowhere near the reality.
Using statistics and percentages on non-citizen voting in Ohio, we can extrapolate to the rest of the country (take these numbers with a grain of salt).
There are approximately 15.6 million people in Ohio according to a recent census report and 6 million of these are registered to vote. Of those 15.6 million, 4 percent are foreign-born and 3 percent are non-citizens. This means that there are approximately 348,000 non-citizens in the state of Ohio. However, we want to be generous and help Trump’s claim a little bit, so we’ll round up to 350,000. Out of the entire Ohio population, about .00074% of the population voted illegally. More importantly, out of 384,000 non-citizens, about .0221% voted and committed voter fraud.
Now, let’s scale these numbers onto the national level. There are 22 million non-citizens in the US. We found that in Ohio approximately .0221% of non-citizens voted and committed voter fraud. If we extrapolate this percentage out to a national level, we got a total of 4862 non-citizens who voted on a national level. This is nowhere near the 3-5 million votes Trump claims were made illegally.
Even with all of our generosity, Trump’s claims about millions of illegal citizens voting come nowhere near the reality. If we use the actual number of 7 illegal votes in the 2016 election, we get a total of 401 non-citizens votes nationwide. The math just doesn’t add up.
Keep in mind that Ohio isn’t exactly representative of the entire country, and this isn’t meant to be scientific at all (it’s only representative of Ohio). It’s certain that other states experienced higher or lower rates of non-citizen voting. State prosecution records also show that non-citizen voting is very rare. Election officials also agree. The available data is currently very limited and a thorough and more accurate analysis of how frequent voter fraud is occurring is difficult.