Voter fraud in Oregon: 2 cases investigated in 2016


Portland, Ore. – Documents from the Oregon Secretary of State’s office show only two cases in 2016 where state officials were alerted to accusations of non-citizens attempting to vote.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday again questioned the issue of widespread voter fraud, including non-citizens voting.

“I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!” Trump wrote in a series of tweets.

A spokesman from the Oregon Secretary of State’s office insisted there aren’t widespread issues with illegal voting by non-citizens in the state. They only found two cases in 2016 and neither one resulted in criminal prosecution.

One of the instances involved a lawful permanent resident who mistakenly thought he was eligible to vote. The state says the man’s wife registered him to vote. The man learned of the mistake only after voting, then called his county elections office to cancel his ballot and registration.

The second case was reported in August, before the presidential election. The state attorney general declined to prosecute that case and instead issued a warning letter.

For comparison, there were 2,001,236 total votes cast in the November general election in Oregon.

While the state does get occasional reports of non-citizens voting, records show they rarely result in prosecution. The state looked at 14 such cases in 2015 and 13 cases in 2014. Of those, records show the vast majority were not prosecuted.

Oregon and Washington both also take steps to make sure voters are not registered in two states. They are among the 20 states that subscribe to a voter registry clearinghouse called the Electronic Registration Information Center, or ERIC.

That system compares the voter rolls between member states to find people who are registered twice. They identified approximately 75,000 instances of double registration between the 20 member states during a September check, according to Oregon officials. That number only includes people registered in two of the 20 states that subscribe to ERIC.

Even though there aren’t foolproof nationwide checks in place, the Washington Secretary of State is confident she has minimized voter fraud in her state.

“As I stated when [Trump] raised this issue last fall, I am confident the election system in Washington state is secure and prevents illegal voting,” Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman said in a statement. “Our county elections offices and our state Elections Division have multiple safeguards in place to prevent illegal voting, and there is no evidence that illegal voting took place anywhere in our state during the 2016 election.”

KGW Editor’s note: The document listing accusations of non-citizens voting or registering to vote was provided by the Oregon Secretary of State’s office. The document was updated on Jan. 26 to reflect a redaction to the 2016 data that the agency says should have been made originally.

© 2023 KOBI-TV NBC5. All rights reserved unless otherwise stated.

Skip to content