Fake News: Washington Times Says Hillary Received 800,000 Votes From Illegal Voters

Media, Media Bias, Race and Ethnicity

The Washington Times is reporting today that Hillary Clinton received over 800,000 votes from noncitizens during the 2016 Presidential Election:

Hillary Clinton garnered more than 800,000 votes from noncitizens on Nov. 8, an approximation far short of President Trump’s estimate of up to 5 million illegal voters but supportive of his charges of fraud.

Political scientist Jesse Richman of Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, has worked with colleagues to produce groundbreaking research on noncitizen voting, and this week he posted a blog in response to Mr. Trump’s assertion.

Based on national polling by a consortium of universities, a report by Mr. Richman said 6.4 percent of the estimated 20 million adult noncitizens in the U.S. voted in November. He extrapolated that that percentage would have added 834,381 net votes for Mrs. Clinton, who received about 2.8 million more votes than Mr. Trump.

This is fake news.

First of all, the “groundbreaking research” referenced in the Times story isn’t even linked to. It is from the blog of Jesse Richman, a professor at Old Dominion University. Hm, so why didn’t The Washington Times link to the article and the professor’s blog? It’s the source of their entire news article! Maybe because it doesn’t match their “news”? The professor’s blog states:

Although Press Secretary Sean Spicer claimed today that millions voted illegally in the November 2016 election, on November 28, 2016 I published the following statement indicating that our analysis does not support his claim. Since then, no new data, facts or analyses have emerged that require us to revisit or change the findings of the 2014 study to which Mr. Spicer refers. We stand by our findings.

What we posted in on November 28, 2016:

Donald Trump recently suggested that his deficit in the popular vote to Clinton might be due entirely to illegal votes cast, for instance by non-citizens.  Is this claim plausible?  The claim Trump is making is not supported by our data.

Here I run some extrapolations based upon the estimates for other elections from my coauthored 2014 paper on non-citizen voting.  You can access that paper on the journal website here and Judicial Watch has also posted a PDF.  The basic assumptions on which the extrapolation is based are that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted, and that of the non-citizens who voted, 81.8 percent voted for Clinton and 17.5 percent voted for Trump.  These were numbers from our study for the 2008 campaign.  Obviously to the extent that critics of my study are correct the first number (percentage of non-citizens who voted) may be too high, and the second number (percentage who voted for Clinton) may be too low.

The count of the popular vote is still in flux as many states have yet to certify official final tallies.  Here I used this unofficial tally linked by Real Clear Politics.  As of this writing Trump is 2,235,663 votes behind Clinton in the popular vote.

If the assumptions stated above concerning non-citizen turnout are correct, could non-citizen turnout account for Clinton’s popular vote margin? There is no way it could have.  6.4 percent turnout among the roughly 20.3 million non-citizen adults in the US would add only 834,318 votes to Clinton’s popular vote margin.  This is little more than a third of the total margin.

The ridiculous percentage of 6.4, along with his entire 2014 study, has been debunked by – multiple – sources. The real percentage of non-citizen that voted is zero. The summary for the study called “The perils of cherry picking low frequency events in large sample surveys” is as follows:

The advent of large sample surveys, such as the Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES), has opened the possibility of measuring very low frequency events, characteristics, and behaviors in the population. This paper documents how low-level measurement error for survey questions generally agreed to be highly reliable can lead to large prediction errors in large sample surveys, such as the CCES. The example for this analysis is Richman et al. (2014), which presents a biased estimate of the rate at which non-citizens voted in recent elections. The results, we show, are completely accounted for by very low frequency measurement error; further, the likely percent of non-citizen voters in recent US elections is 0.

To summarize: The Washington Times doesn’t link to their source. The source has been thoroughly debunked. Not only that, Jesse Richman says later in the blog post that he is not making a specific claim as to how many non-citizens voted in 2016.

Yet, The Washington Times says the opposite and reports the 800,000 number as a fact!


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