Email to NY Times fact-checkers

I know… I know. Little, late and probably a futile attempt… [1]


att: Linda Qiu

Your recent piece Fact-checking Falsehoods in Mail-In Voting, which observed that voter fraud of any kind is extremely rare (and provided a link to a Washington Post article claiming 31 credible voter impersonation incidents out of 1 billion votes cast) could have benefited from the inclusion of a clarifying number of incidence of documented voter fraud, a number like 0.0000044% (from

Accounts of the president’s false claims of massive voter fraud never cite the actual occurrence of such fraud — an infinitesimal number that vividly shows the magnitude of the president’s self-serving claim.   It’s an important number for Americans to know.

You fairly state that his comments on voter fraud are not true.   They are wildly, not even remotely true.   Why not simply state that contrary to the president’s false claims, the documented incidence of voter fraud is four hundred thousandths of one percent? (or whatever the best data shows that number to be)

Using the conservative Heritage Foundation’s number of 62 documented cases of voter fraud in 2016 — out of more than 138,000,000 ballots counted– gives us an incidence of 1 in 2,225,806 votes.   That incidence makes it exceedingly rare, less than a hundredth of one percent, less than a ten thousandth of one percent.

The Brennan Center’s investigation that resulted in its report The Truth About Voter Fraudgave incident rates of between 0.00003% and 0.0025% (3 hundred thousandths of 1% to 25 ten thousandths of 1% — a pretty wide range within the statistically insignificant– unless somebody at the Center mistyped some zeros) for the prevalence of voter fraud.

The Heritage Foundation study, as you likely know, claimed 1,296 incidents of proven voter fraud in recent elections (their Election Fraud database goes back to 1982, there was one in 1983, none in 1984, 1985, 1987, 1989 or 1990 and a few other years, oddly enough).

How is the magnitude of our president’s audacious and electorally influential lie, reduced to a memorable number, not news that’s fit to print?  Particularly in this age of zero attention span.  You could state that the documented statistic most supportive of the president’s claim puts the number at (insert microscopic percentage).

Thank you,


no reason to send this to the Grey Lady, but:

Nominally, Trump and his political sycophants are trying to stop state and local officials from making voting-by-mail more accessible during a pandemic. But, in fact, the real aim is simply to push into the public sphere the false claims that mail-in ballots are prone to fraud. Each court battle or legislative fight gives them the opportunity to keep sowing those doubts, ready to be harvested later.


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