New Policy Study applies results of the late-2023 Heartland/Rasmussen poll which found more than one-in-four mail-in voters admitted to submitting illegal ballots
Even if only a fraction of self-admitted violations of election law occurred, Trump beats Biden in multiple swing states and wins 2020 Electoral College vote
With the 2024 election season in full swing, and a Trump-Biden rematch appearing likely, Americans deserve to know that illegally cast mail-in ballots likely changed the outcome of the 2020 election. However, in 2020, mail-in voting reached an all-time record due to pandemic policies encouraging mail-in voting.
These abrupt and capricious changes to voting procedures in the months before the 2020 election occurred despite the fact that ample evidence showed that mass mail-in voting, unsecure ballot drop boxes, ballot harvesting, and lack of signature verification would result in a flood of fraudulent ballots that would undermine the accuracy of the election results.
A groundbreaking poll conducted by The Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports in November/December 2023 attempted to assess the degree of fraudulent voting that may have taken place. The results were stunning. Some of the most important findings from the poll include:
- 21% of mail-in voters admitted that in 2020 they voted in a state where they are “no longer a permanent resident.”
- 21% of mail-in voters admitted that they filled out a ballot for a friend or family member
- 17% of mail-in voters said they signed a ballot for a friend or family member “with or without his or her permission.”
- 19% of mail-in voters said that a friend or family member filled out their ballot, in part or in full, on their behalf.
After examining the raw survey data provided by Rasmussen, we found that 28.2% of all mail-in respondents admitted to committing at least one of the four types of fraud asked in the survey, meaning that more than one-in-four ballots cast by mail in 2020 were likely cast fraudulently, and thus should not have been counted.
This policy study takes the results of the Heartland/Rasmussen survey and applies them directly to the six swing states that Biden won by razor-thin margins in 2020: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Because Biden voters cast mail-in ballots at a much higher rate than Trump voters, any level of fraud almost certainly benefited Biden to a significantly greater degree than Trump.
In addition to the 28.2% fraud scenario, the study analyzes the electoral results for every fraud integer from 27% down to 1%. In every instance except the 3%, 2%, and 1% fraud scenarios, our results indicate that Trump would have won the Electoral College in the 2020 U.S. presidential election had fraudulent mail-in ballots not been counted. Hence, even if the level of fraud detected in the Heartland/Rasmussen survey (28.2% of all mail-in ballots) substantially overstated voter fraud by multiple orders of magnitude, Trump would likely still have won the 2020 election.
Ultimately, our study clearly shows that if the 2020 election had been as free, fair, and secure as past elections have been, Donald Trump would almost certainly have been re-elected to a second term. As the country braces for a Trump-Biden rematch, it is imperative that state legislatures do all that they can to ensure the next election is as secure as possible, primarily by severely limiting mail-in voting and instituting other commonsense policies to prevent mail-in voter fraud. If state lawmakers do not pass measures to thwart the possibility of extensive voter fraud occurring again, more Americans will question the legitimacy of future elections, further eroding the American people’s trust in our nation’s democratic institutions.
More Information About the Poll and Study
In December 2023, The Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports released a poll that found one-in-five voters who cast mail-in ballots during the 2020 presidential election admit to participating in at least one kind of voter fraud.
When asked, “During the 2020 election, did you fill out a ballot, in part or in full, on behalf of a friend or family member, such as a spouse or child?”, 21% of respondents who said they voted by mail answered “yes.” (Filling out a ballot for someone else is illegal in all states, although many states allow people to assist others with voting.)
Additionally, 17% of mail-in voters said they voted “in a state where you were no longer a permanent resident.” Seventeen percent of mail-in voters also admitted to signing a “ballot or ballot envelope on behalf of a friend or family member.” (Both voting in a state where you are no longer a permanent resident and forging a signature on a ballot or ballot envelope are fraudulent activities that invalidate votes, when caught by election officials.)
According to election data, more than 43 percent of 2020 voters cast ballots by mail, the highest percentage in U.S. history.
Further, 10% of all respondents — not just those who said they voted by mail — claimed that they know “a friend, family member, co-worker, or other acquaintance who has admitted … that he or she cast a mail-in ballot in 2020 in a state other than his or her state of permanent residence.”
Eight percent of all respondents said “a friend, family member, or organization, such as a political party” offered them “pay” or a “reward” for agreeing to vote in the 2020 election.
Taken together, the results of these survey questions appear to show that voter fraud was widespread in the 2020 election, especially among those who cast mail-in ballots.
The poll of 1,085 likely voters was conducted from November 30 to December 6, 2023. Among those surveyed in the poll, 33% were Republicans, 36% were Democrats, and 31% were “other”; 32% were 18-39 years old, 46% were 40-64 years old, and 22% were 65 or older.
The following statements from experts at The Heartland Institute – may be used for attribution.
“The results of this study clearly indicate that the massive scale of mail-in voter fraud in the 2020 election, as captured by the 2023 Heartland/Rasmussen survey, likely led to Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. If even a small portion of this fraud had been prevented, Donald Trump would almost certainly have won the 2020 presidential election.
“Even if the Heartland/Rasmussen survey substantially overestimated the degree of mail-in voter fraud (which we have no reason to believe it did), Trump would likely still have won, as we show in the myriad fraud scenarios throughout the paper. This paper makes clear that mass mail-in balloting is not a secure method of voting, and that the results of any elections moving forward that involve mass mail-in voting will be similarly corrupted, as the 2020 results were.
“This should serve as a call to action for state legislators interested in shoring up the integrity of states’ electoral systems. Though a handful of states have enacted some policies to mitigate mail-in voting fraud in the upcoming 2024 elections, much more needs to be done in order to ensure Americans regain confidence in U.S. electoral institutions and believe the results of future elections. If we can’t trust our own elections, our democratic republic will be on thinner ice than it already is.”
“The evidence is now crystal-clear. Mail-in ballot fraud in the 2020 election was not only widespread, with more than one-in-four ballots cast involving a fraudulent activity, it was so substantial that it likely impacted the outcome of presidential election. As our study shows, had mail-in ballot fraud been mostly prevented or caught in 2020, Donald Trump, not Joe Biden, would be president of the United States today.
“Unlike other reports about voter fraud, our study depends entirely on what voters themselves have admitted. I once believed that voter fraud in 2020 was present, but that not nearly enough of it had occurred to change the outcome of the presidential race. However, the available evidence has compelled me to change my view. It appears mail-in fraud was rampant in 2020 and easy to commit.
“If state lawmakers do not soon shore up election integrity laws–by, for example, mandating in-person voting for able-bodied voters or requiring mail-in ballot signatures to be notarized–trust in our nation’s elections will continue to erode. And no nation can survive long without faith in its election system.”
Director of the Socialism Research Center
The Heartland Institute
“In the months leading up to the 2020 election, Americans were scolded by the legacy media and other mainstream institutions that the mass mailing of tens of millions of ballots was the most safe and secure method of voting. However, commonsense and recent history says otherwise.
“We now know that it is more than likely that the outcome of the 2020 election was altered due to self-admitted widespread fraud committed by mail-in voters. What we do know is that the rampant mail-in voting fraud that occurred in the 2020 election most likely disproportionately helped Joe Biden, seeing as how Biden voters cast ballots by mail at a much higher rate than Trump voters did. What we do not know is if the extensive mail-in voting fraud also resulted in Joe Biden being declared winner of the 2020 election. But, we do have strong evidence that Trump would have won the Electoral College under several different scenarios, had massive mail-in voting fraud been averted. And, we also know that the burden to ensure election integrity rests with the state legislatures, which must do everything in their power to prevent election fraud in the future.”
“This report shows that a large coordinated effort to undermine the integrity of an election is not necessary to skew the results. Our analysis shows that even if only four percent of mail-in ballots were found to be fraudulent, then Donald Trump could have won the 2020 election. This analysis is particularly alarming considering our recently released poll found that upwards of 28 percent of mail-in voters admitted to committing at least one form of fraud during the 2020 election.
“These results should be seen as a warning about the current state of our voting process. Actions must be taken to shore up the legitimacy of our elections to ensure the voice of the people is truly heard at the ballot box.”
“It’s time the gaslighting by our ruling class and corrupt legacy media finally stop. It was obvious to anyone with eyes and common sense that the 2020 election was not ‘the most secure in American history.’ How could it be with historic national use of mail-in ballots, often handled with little security and lax standards for authentication? The Heartland/Rasmussen poll, in which Americans self-reported widespread voter fraud, plus this new deep analysis of the election methods and results shows definitively that the truth was the opposite.
“It is too late to re-do the 2020 election, but our state legislatures had better get moving to secure their voting, validation, and counting processes if Americans are ever going to trust our elections again.”
Survey of 1,085 National Likely Voters
November 30 – December 6, 2023
Conducted by Rasmussen Reports and the Heartland Institute
1. If your state banned mail-in balloting in next year’s presidential election, would you choose to vote in-person or would you choose not to vote at all?
94% you would vote in person
2% you wouldn’t vote
4% not sure
2. We are now going to ask you several questions about voting in the 2020 Presidential election. Your responses will remain anonymous, so please answer honestly. Who did you vote for in the 2020 Presidential election?
45% Donald Trump
46% Joe Biden
4% some other candidate
3% didn’t vote
1% not sure
3. Did you vote with an absentee or mail-in ballot in the 2020 election?
2% not sure
Answered by respondents who voted by absentee or mail-in ballot:
4. During the 2020 election, did a friend or family member fill out your ballot, in part or in full, on your behalf?
2% not sure
5. During the 2020 election, did you fill out a ballot, in part or in full, on behalf of a friend or family member, such as a spouse or child?
0% not sure
6. During the 2020 election, did you cast a mail-in ballot in a state where you were no longer a permanent resident?
1% not sure
7. During the 2020 election, did you sign a ballot or ballot envelope on behalf of a friend or family member, with or without his or her permission?
1% not sure
Answered by all respondents:
8. During the 2020 election, did a friend, family member, or organization, such as a political party, offer to pay or reward you for voting?
1% not sure
9. Do you know a friend, family member, co-worker, or other acquaintance who has admitted to you that he or she cast a mail-in ballot in 2020 in a state other than his or her state of permanent residence?
3% not sure
10. Do you know a friend, family member, co-worker, or other acquaintance who has admitted to you that he or she filled out a ballot on behalf of another person?
2% not sure
NOTE: Margin of Sampling Error, +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence
The polls were huge news across America. Click below to see some highlights of that coverage.
Some critics of the Heartland Institute / Rasmussen Reports poll and Heartland’s subsequent report analyzing voter fraud in the 2020 election have challenged our assertion that “[filling] out a ballot for a friend or family member” constitutes voter fraud.
It is true that state and federal law allow specified individuals to assist voters who have disabilities, such as blind, disabled, or illiterate persons. However, that is a very small subsection of the population. If any respondents within our poll belong to these categories—which is unlikely, as most blind, disabled, or illiterate persons would be unable to respond to a poll—they were likely very few and therefore captured within the margin of error.
What is absolutely clear is that voting more than once is a crime, and considered to be voter fraud. As will be explained below, the act of filling out a ballot for someone else—unless one does not fill out a ballot for him or herself—inherently means voting more than once.
Federally, the Voting Rights Act—under 52 USC §10307—stipulates: Whoever votes more than once in an election referred to in paragraph (2) shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both.”
Title 52 also defines the act of “voting” in multiple places. Under 52 USC §10101 (e), “When used in this subsection, the word ‘vote’ includes all action necessary to make a vote effective including, but not limited to, registration or other action required by State law prerequisite to voting, casting a ballot, and having such ballot counted and included in the appropriate totals of votes cast with respect to candidates for public office and propositions for which votes are received in an election…”
Under 52 USC §10310 (c) (1), “The terms ‘vote’ or ‘voting’ shall include all action necessary to make a vote effective in any primary, special, or general election, including, but not limited to, registration, listing pursuant to this chapter, or other action required by law prerequisite to voting, casting a ballot, and having such ballot counted properly and included in the appropriate totals of votes cast with respect to candidates for public or party office and propositions for which votes are received in an election.”
Filling out a ballot on behalf of someone else, regardless of whether that person is aware of it or not, constitutes “voting.” As noted above, according to the Voting Rights Act, “voting” includes “all action necessary to make a vote effective, including…casting a ballot, and having such a ballot counted properly and included in the appropriate totals of votes cast…”. Filling out a ballot is a necessary condition to making a vote effective and included in the totals of votes cast.
To be clear, it is theoretically possible that a nonvoter could fill out a ballot on someone else’s behalf, and thus not vote twice. That, however, is a far-fetched proposition.
As for state-level laws, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) writes that “One of the basic tenets of democracy is that each person has one vote. In practice state laws vary regarding the definition of ‘voting more than once’ and particularly what happens if a voter casts a ballot in more than one state.”
The NCSB goes on to note that “13 states explicitly prohibit voting in more than one state… 7 states prohibit voting twice within the state or for the same office… [and] 32 states and Washington D.C., prohibit voting twice in the same election.” Further, NCSL explains, “Underlying these state statutes is the Voting Rights Act’s prohibition on ‘voting more than once.’”
Clearly, under both federal and state law, voting more than once is considered a crime. The act of filling out a ballot is a precondition of voting, as defined by the Voting Rights Act. Filling out more than one ballot, therefore, is voter fraud, which our survey and the subsequent report correctly capture.
Additionally, there have been several instances in which election results have been overturned—including one case that found its way to the U.S. Supreme Court—due to instances of voters filling out more than one ballot and therefore corrupting the vote total. Activities spanning from pressuring voters to fill out their ballots in certain ways to pre-filling forms and then having the voters sign them, among many other actions, have been cited as evidence in legal challenges and used as a basis for throwing out election results. For the specifics on these instances and others, “Four Stolen Elections: The Vulnerabilities of Absentee and Mail-In Ballots,” a report written by election expert and senior legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation Hans von Spakovsky.
On a final note, even if we remove the question that asks: “During the 2020 election, did a friend or family member fill out your ballot, in part or in full, on your behalf,” 26.4 percent of mail-in voters still answered “yes” to at least one of the three other questions asking about voter fraud.
And, if we remove both the aforementioned question and the question: “During the 2020 election, did you sign a ballot or ballot envelope on behalf of a friend or family member, with or without his permission,” 24.9 percent of mail-in voters still answered “yes” to at least one of the remaining two questions.
Ultimately, what this means is that even if we remove the questions that are more prone to some critique (which we believe is unfounded), our survey still shows that one-in-four mail-in voters committed fraud.
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