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Our Voter Registration Rolls Are A Mess, But That's Not Voter Fraud

Of three things President Trump listed as possible voter fraud, two of them aren't actually fraud — and they're pretty common.
Posted at 10:22 PM, Jan 26, 2017

President Donald Trump renewed his call Wednesday to investigate what he calls "voter fraud." 

When Trump talks about voter fraud, he often cites the number of people registered in multiple states and dead people still registered to vote.

But those things aren't illegal. They're not voter fraud. And they're incredibly common.

2012 Pew Research study found about 2.75 million people were registered to vote in multiple states. It also found more than 1.8 million people who had died were still listed as registered voters. 

That's a lot of people. But voting experts say fraud nearly never takes place in person. Usually, people just don't realize they need to alert election officials before moving to a new state or after someone has died.

As of December, only four cases of voter fraud were found in the 2016 election — that's out of the over 135 million Americans who voted.

Being registered in more than one state is so common, a few of Trump's family members and advisers are registered in multiple places

As for dead people voting, election officials say occasionally someone tries to vote as their deceased spouse, but it's incredibly rare.

The president isn't wrong about voter registration rolls being a mess. But his criteria casts way too large of a net for the reality of the problem. 

The 2012 Pew study did lead to something called the Electronic Registration Information Center, a program meant to help states share information on voter registries to clean up the lists. Unfortunately, less than half the states participate in the program.