- While nowhere near the 3 to 5 million that President Donald Trump says voted illegally in 2016, one study suggests there are non-citizens who vote
- Jesse Richman, a political scientist from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, came out with a voter fraud study in 2014
- Using data from an online, opt-in survey about voting habits, Richman found that some non-citizens were registered to vote and some even voted
- Using his findings and applying them toward the 2016 election, he said that about 835,000 votes from non-citizens could have been cast for Hillary Clinton
While nowhere near the 3 to 5 million people President Donald Trump has claimed voted illegally in the 2016 election, there is a study that suggests 835,000 votes toward rival Hillary Clinton could have come from non-citizens.
The work comes from Jesse Richman, a political scientist from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.
In 2014, Richman co-authored a voter fraud study using data from the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, an opt-in online poll that asks respondents their citizenship status.
'Most non-citizens do not register, let alone vote,' Richman and his co-author David Earnest wrote in the Washington Post at the time. 'But enough do that their participation can change the outcome of close races.'
One study suggests that around 835,000 non-citizens could have voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton (pictured) in the 2016 election
President Donald Trump (left), photographed during the final presidential debate, is saying voter fraud is the reason he lost the popular vote to rival Hillary Clinton (right)
Richman and Earnest found a small percentage of non-citizens, 339 out of 32,800 in 2008 and 489 out of 55,400, who participated in the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, which is the basis for their claims.
'How many non-citizens participate in U.S. elections?' the political scientists asked. 'More than 14 percent of non-citizens in both 2008 and 2010 samples indicated that they were registered to vote.'
'Furthermore, some of these non-citizens voted,' the researchers wrote in the Washington Post.
They found that 6.4 percent of non-citizens voted in 2008 and 2.2 percent of non-citizens voted in 2010.
From there Richman and Earnest figured out who benefited from this number – and the answer was overwhelmingly Democrats.
'Because non-citizens tended to favor Democrats (Obama won more than 80 percent of the votes of non-citizens in the 2008 CCES sample), we find that this participation was large enough to plausibly account for Democratic victories in a few close elections,' Richman and Earnest wrote in the Post.
Particularly, they pointed to Sen. Al Franken's razor thing margin of victory in his Minnesota race in 2008, along with President Barack Obama's North Carolina win the same year.
Now, with Trump making widespread voter fraud claims, Richman has gone on record and preached caution.
Speaking to Wired magazine this week, Richman did not back down from his initial findings.
He said that even if some of the CCES' respondents checked the wrong box when asked about citizenship status, enough people marked that they were non-citizens to offer proof that some non-citizens do indeed vote.
But he cautioned that the number Trump is throwing around is completely off base.
'I can't quite account for the math being so badly wrong in their analyses,' he told Wired, speaking of the Trump's administrations reading of his report.
He then applied his math to the 2016 race.
If 6.4 percent of the estimated 20.3 million non-citizens voted and 81.8 percent chose Clinton as their candidate, that would mean 835,000 of her votes could be from non-citizens, Richman claimed.
Meaning, she still would have won the popular vote by more than 2 million.