A new study estimates that presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden benefited from thousands of illegal votes by noncitizens, providing President Trump’s backers with another potential argument for a fraud-tainted election.
The study comes from the nonprofit research institute Just Facts, and its president, James D. Agresti, who looked at election returns from seven battleground states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.
He compared U.S. Census numbers on noncitizens (a total of 21.7 million) with each battleground state’s demographics and election results. He then applied previous election polling of noncitizens.
The 2008-13 surveys show that a significant number of noncitizens register to vote and cast ballots, despite a federal law against it, and overwhelmingly vote for Democrats.
Based in New Jersey, Just Facts concluded that thousands of “extra” noncitizen votes went to Mr. Biden, enough to flip Arizona (plus 51,081) and Georgia (plus 54,950), but not sufficient to flip the election.
“This is just one kind of fraud,” Mr. Agresti told The Washington Times. “It’s a sizable number, which is the point. It also decimates the predominant narrative that there is no evidence of large-scale fraud in U.S. elections.”
Mr. Trump is contesting the election in court on two major contentions: invalid mailed ballots because of fake signatures or other flaws, and a computer voting system that, his legal team says, switched Trump votes to Biden votes. The latter claim remains unproven.
At this point there does not appear to be a formal Trump argument on noncitizen voting.
Democrats and the liberal media are beleaguering Mr. Trump for not conceding. He believes he would win the election if only legal votes are counted and fraudulent ones are thrown out.
On voting by noncitizens, Mr. Agresti says Democrats, in effect, offer inducements to undocumented immigrants to break the law. In the election cycle, various Democratic presidential candidates promised free health care, citizenship, open borders, no deportations and sanctuary cities.
Over the years, Democrats also have gone to court to block states that try to enforce the noncitizen voting ban by requiring proof of citizenship.
Said Mr. Agresti’s study: “A wealth of facts show that there are ample openings for noncitizens to illegally vote and that roughly 16% of them voted in the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.”
He promotes Just Facts as a conservative/libertarian research nonprofit that combats what he believes are false news media and liberal narratives.
The noncitizen vote issue divides along ideological lines. Liberals generally contend that the illegal voting is minuscule and that cited polls have too small a sample.
Mr. Trump set up a blue-ribbon commission to delve into voter registration lists to produce a definitive finding. But Democrat-run states balked at turning over data and the commission went away.
Conservatives say former President Barack Obama gave the green light to fraud right before the 2016 election when he was asked if undocumented immigrants would be deported if they voted.
“Not true,” Mr. Obama answered at the time. “And the reason is, first of all, when you vote, you are a citizen yourself. And there is not a situation where the voting rolls somehow are transferred over and people start investigating, et cetera.”
Poll evidence from 2008 to 2013 seems to confirm that substantial numbers of noncitizens vote. For example, a 2012 Harvard/YouGov survey found that 14% of self-identified noncitizens responded that they were registered to vote and 9% said they “definitely” voted. Of those, 80% said they voted for Mr. Obama.
All the follow-up data, such as checks of actual rosters, indicate that 2.8 million to 7.9 million noncitizens were registered to vote in 2008, Just Facts says.
In previous elections, ground zero on the noncitizen debate had resided at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, and political science professor Jesse Richman.
Based on the same census data and polling as Just Facts, Mr. Richman published what appear to be the first comprehensive studies that show significant numbers of noncitizens voting. He estimated that 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton garnered thousands of noncitizens votes. His numbers prompted Mr. Trump to make unsubstantiated claims about the popular vote he had lost.
Other political science professors reacted by bullying Mr. Richman in an open letter calling for colleagues to blacklist his studies.
“The scholarly political science community has generally rejected the findings in the Richman et al. study and we believe it should not be cited or used in any debate over fraudulent voting,” the letter said.
The Harvard/YouGov survey, known officially as the Cooperative Congressional Election Study, contains too small a sample of noncitizens to draw conclusions, the blacklisters said.
Mr. Richman has defended his landmark work.
“I agree with the authors of the letter that the upper end of this interval may have played an unfortunate role in the president’s rhetoric,” Mr. Richman wrote in a blog. “I have, as noted above, attempted to push back against this. I will continue to do so as I think it is important that people not get fooled by an extreme upper end estimate that is almost certainly way way way too high.”
He added: “We show that even if their response error argument is correct, there is still significant evidence of non-citizen participation in the U.S. electoral system.”
Last year, Texas officials found 95,000 noncitizens illegally registered to vote. The state compared drivers licenses, which contain immigration status, to voter rolls.