Our fact-checking collaboration with CNN’s Jake Tapper resumes this week with a video looking at bogus claims about voter fraud made by President Donald Trump and White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer.
During a press briefing on Jan. 24, Spicer was asked what evidence Trump had to back up his claims that millions of illegal votes caused him to lose the popular vote to Hillary Clinton. After being pressed, Spicer said, “I think there’s been studies. There’s one that came out of Pew in 2008 that showed 14 percent of people who voted were noncitizens.”
There was no such Pew study. As we wrote, a 2012 Pew study found that “more than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters” and that “approximately 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state.” The study’s authors said it shows that voter rolls are “susceptible to fraud,” though they did not claim fraud occurred.
Spicer may have been confusing the 2012 Pew study with one written by two Old Dominion University professors and published in the journal Electoral Studies in 2008. That study drew upon a national election survey in which some people self-identified as noncitizens, but indicated that they voted. Extrapolating from that sample, the authors estimated that 6.4 percent of noncitizens voted in 2008 and 2.2 percent of noncitizens voted in 2010.
But a Harvard professor who manages the voter database used in the Old Dominion study said that the study’s findings were due to measurement error.