National Popular Vote and election fraud

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National Popular Vote and election fraud

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Key Points

  • Election fraud continues to be a serious problem, and the National Popular Vote interstate compact would make it worse.
  • In the current system, it is difficult to commit fraud in competitive states and there is no incentive to commit fraud in states dominated by just one party.
  • With National Popular Vote, every stolen or suppressed vote could swing the election, creating an incentive for dishonest people to manufacture fake votes and suppress real votes.


Election fraud is a real problem, and there is an increased risk of it under the National Popular Vote interstate compact (NPV).

There are numerous instances of serious election fraud occurring in the past and present, such as the “ballot harvesting” scheme in a North Carolina congressional race in 2018; the Clay County, Kentucky vote-buying operation uncovered in 2010 that bribed an estimated 8,000 voters over several election cycles; and, of course, the legendary vote-stealing political machines of Tammany Hall and the City of Chicago.

These types of election fraud are less likely and more difficult with the Electoral College’s state-by-state process of electing the president. There is no incentive to commit large-scale election fraud outside of the most contested states because it can only affect a single state. In competitive states where election fraud might affect the outcome, there are typically two strong political parties as well as media and the campaigns all intently focused on the election, making it difficult to engage in fraud without being detected.

With NPV, however, fraudulent ballots cast in non-competitive states would make a difference, and election fraud would be easier to commit in areas with one-party control that aren’t being carefully monitored. NPV would also create incentives in non-competitive states to suppress votes or otherwise manipulate the election process to either increase or reduce the number of votes cast for one party’s candidate.

When the increased likelihood of significant election fraud under NPV is combined with the other known risks created by the compact, such as the lack of an official vote count and the impossibility of a national recount, there is an increased chance of fraud deciding the election.