In the wake of Donald Trump’s allegations of massive voter fraud that he claims cost him the 2020 election, Republicans in a number of states set up law enforcement units to investigate potential instances of election fraud. According to an Associated Press investigation, these units have only received “scattered complaints” in the weeks following the midterms, and investigations have yielded “no indication of systemic problems.”
“I am not aware of any significant detection of fraud on Election Day, but that’s not surprising,” Paul Smith, senior vice president of the Campaign Legal Center, told the AP. “The whole concept of voter impersonation fraud is such a horribly exaggerated problem. It doesn’t change the outcome of the election, it’s a felony, you risk getting put in jail and you have a high possibility of getting caught. It’s a rare phenomena.”
States including Virginia, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and Texas all created election integrity units following Trump’s allegations of rampant voter fraud. The former president’s dangerous and false rhetoric that the 2020 election was stolen from him seems to have convinced a significant number of Republicans that voter fraud is a real issue. Ahead of this month’s midterms, 45 percent of Republican respondents said they had little to no confidence that votes would be accurately counted.
But according to the AP’s investigation in Georgia and five other battleground states that Trump claimed were stolen from him in 2020, there is no evidence that widespread fraud is taking place. In fact, the AP reported, certification of the results in most states are going “smoothly” and “with few complaints.” In fact, Georgia has not opened any election investigations under a newly passed law that gave state law enforcement the authority to investigate potential voter fraud without a request from election officials. Its only recent investigation into voter fraud concerns a 2021 allegation that voting equipment was breached in a county Trump won by almost 40 points.
In Florida, under Gov. Ron DeSantis who is no Trump fan but who still took up his cause of hunting down election fraud, the state’s election unit arrested 20 people for illegally voting in 2020 because they had a prior felony conviction. But some of those people received voter ID cards from the state, and charges have been dropped or dismissed in at least two of those 20 cases. Florida officials did not respond to the AP’s questions about fraud allegations in the 2022 elections. In Virginia, a spokesperson for the state’s attorney general said the Election Integrity Unit has received some complaints but declined to comment on whether those complaints led to investigations.