Express opinion piece wrong to allege evidence of widespread voter fraud in US elections

9 November 2020
What was claimed

If you count the ballot fraud in the US election, most pollsters clearly failed. If you don’t include the fraudulent ballots, most pollsters failed on a spectacular scale.

Our verdict

There is no evidence of widespread fraudulent ballots in the US election. It is correct that the predictions of many pollsters were found to be inaccurate.

What was claimed

It defies logic that Joe Biden secured more votes that Barack Obama. If only valid votes are counted, Donald Trump and Joe Biden share the popular vote.

Our verdict

It is logical that Mr Biden received so many votes because turnout was relatively high. There is no evidence of widespread invalid votes. There is no evidence that Mr Trump and Mr Biden received the same popular vote. Mr Biden currently leads by around 4.5 million.

What was claimed

Already there is a mountain of evidence, direct and circumstantial, of widespread ballot fraud.

Our verdict

There is no evidence of widespread ballot fraud.

“If you count the ballot fraud, most pollsters clearly failed. If you don’t include the fraudulent ballots, most pollsters failed on a spectacular scale [...] It therefore defies logic Biden secured more votes than Barack Obama. If only valid votes are counted, Trump and Biden share the popular vote. Already, there is a mountain of evidence, direct and circumstantial, of widespread ballot fraud.”

At the weekend, The Express published a comment piece alleging evidence of widespread ballot fraud in the US election. There is currently no evidence of electoral fraud in the 2020 election. 

Since the publication of this article, The Express has deleted the comment piece from its website.

It was written by Patrick Basham, director of a London and Washington-based think tank called the Democracy Institute

Mr Basham criticises other pollsters, claiming they were wrong about the number of votes President Donald Trump would receive. We do know that many polls that predicted a landslide for President elect Joe Biden were out in their predictions. He also repeatedly speaks of “ballot fraud”, which there is no evidence of. 

Mr Basham also claims it “defies logic” that Mr Biden secured more votes than Barack Obama, and insists that “if only valid votes are counted, Trump and Biden share the popular vote”. Former President Barack Obama previously held the record for the most votes received in a general election at almost 69.5 million in 2008, but Mr Biden’s current total stands at around 75.5 million. Mr Trump also saw an increase in votes, up 8 million from 2016 to around 71 million. 

This is not illogical, as 2020 is believed to have had the highest voter turnout for a US election since 1900, with preliminary figures suggesting 66% of the electorate voted. There is no evidence that a multitude of votes were not valid, as Mr Basham implies, much less the 4.5 million votes that separate the two candidates’ popular vote shares.

Mr Basham also alleges that the only reason the results of the vote went against his think tank’s polling which predicted a Trump victory, was because of voter fraud and describes a “mountain of evidence, direct and circumstantial, of widespread ballot fraud”. There is no evidence of this. (The Express seems to have added a note to this part of the article saying “We are yet to see the evidence of voter fraud”.) 

It was reported in The Guardian that Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the US House of Representatives and a supporter of Mr Trump, was referring to Mr Basham’s piece in the Express when he told Fox News that the “best pollster in Britain wrote this morning that this was clearly a stolen election”. 

This was then seemingly referred to in a tweet from Mr Trump. Twitter has marked this tweet with a warning that claims about election fraud in his tweets are “disputed”. 

Mr Trump and his supporters have made multiple allegations of voter fraud and insisted that he won the election. There is no evidence that this is the case.

Good quality information is essential for the public. Newspapers have a responsibility to their readers to make sure that all their articles, including opinion pieces, are factually accurate.

Update 11 November 2020

The Express has now deleted the comment piece from its website.

We took a stand for good information.

We got in touch to request a correction regarding a claim made in the Express.

They deleted the article.

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