President-elect Donald Trump, who defeated Hillary Clinton by winning the Electoral College in the election earlier this month, claimed Sunday that he would’ve beaten her in the popular vote too if not for “the millions of people who voted illegally.”
It’s remarkable and unprecedented for a victorious presidential candidate to claim widespread voter fraud. There is no evidence to indicate that there was a significant number of people, let alone millions, who voted illegally in the election on Nov. 8.
Trump clinched his stunning victory over Clinton by amassing more than the 270 electoral votes needed to win. He won 290 to Clinton’s 232, and is ahead in Michigan, though the contest for its 16 electoral votes is still too close to call. But Clinton is on track to win the national popular vote by around 2.5 million, a loss that Trump appears to find hard to swallow.
“In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally,” Trump tweeted Sunday afternoon.
In the weeks leading up to Election Day, Trump repeatedly warned that the election would be “rigged” against him, claiming there would be widespread voter fraud.
“Of course there is large scale voter fraud happening on and before election day,” Trump tweeted on Oct. 17. “Why do Republican leaders deny what is going on? So naive!”
But while there have been isolated cases of voter fraud in the United States, the Associated Press reported the same day, “There is no evidence of it being a widespread problem.”
A Loyola Law School professor’s study cited by the AP found just “31 instances involving allegations of voter impersonation out of 1 billion votes cast in U.S. elections between 2000 and 2014.” Another study by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School “found many reports of people voting twice or ballots being cast on behalf of dead people were largely the result of clerical errors that suggested wrongdoing when none had occurred.”