ELECTION INTEGRITYHow Big Is the Risk of Voter Fraud in U.S. Elections?

By Sarah Steffen

Published 8 July 2024

Voter fraud claims are already making the rounds ahead of the November 5 elections. Are noncitizens voting illegally, and how safe are mail-in ballots and electronic voting machines?

Ahead of the US elections in November, some are sounding the alarm over possible voter fraud. DW takes a look at the most common claims.

Are Noncitizens ‘Stealing’ the Elections?
 Several posts on social media have warned that noncitizens could be voting in the elections despite laws requiring citizenship to cast a ballot in federal elections. This tweet reposting a New York Post article said: “Welfare offices in 49 states are handing out voter registration applications to illegal aliens.” It’s been viewed over 73 million times so far. “We are looking at, perhaps, the most comprehensive voter fraud initiative in the history of American politics,” wrote this user on X. “We could be looking at a repeat of 2020.” 

DW fact check: Misleading.
While Republican lawmakers such as House Speaker Mike Johnson keep pushing this narrative, analysis has shown no evidence of widespread noncitizen voter fraud. The conservative Heritage Foundation think tank put together an election fraud database and found 24 cases involving noncitizens voting between 2003 and 2023.

It is true that noncitizens potentially could obtain voter registration forms from welfare offices. This also applies to any other place where voter registration drives are being held. 

Voter registration applications are available almost everywhere in the United States, including online,” said David Becker, executive director and founder of the nonpartisan, nonprofit Center for Election Innovation and & Research based in Washington, DC.

Every single person in the United States who seeks to register to vote must provide identification at the time they register,” he added. If someone who is ineligible were to get a form and return it, they would not have a driver’s license or a social security number tied to a record showing citizenship, he said. 

Several studies and state-led investigations have shown that noncitizen voting in federal and statewide elections virtually never happens,” the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s School of Law writes. “It’s illegal, and if a noncitizen intentionally registers or votes in one of those elections, they will face fines, prison and deportation.”