JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Whether it be voter suppression or voter fraud, election integrity is a serious concern for many voters this election cycle.
A new UNF poll found four out of ten Florida voters believe fraud changes the outcome of more than 10% of elections, but the reality couldn’t be further from the perception.
The 2020 election brought hordes of false claims of fraud and the 2016 election ended with many claiming Russian interference had affected the outcome.
Across political aisles, voters are increasingly concerned about the legitimacy of our elections, but time and time again, these concerns have been shown to be overblown.
According to a recent poll put out by UNF, 34% of Floridians believe voter fraud changes the outcome of fewer than 1% of elections.
On the other hand, the poll found 56% of Floridians believe election-altering fraud is more common.
“That’s thousands of elections in a given election cycle. They are misunderstanding what is happening,” said Dr. Michael Binder, a political science professor at UNF.
Binder helped conduct the UNF poll.
He said the reality is voter fraud is incredibly rare and fraud to the scale of shifting an election one way or the other is virtually non-existent.
“You show your ID when you get your ballot, your signature is matched to your mail-in ballot, and if there’s a discrepancy you get contacted. The amount of effort that’s put forth to make sure that the votes that are cast are legitimate votes is high,” said Binder.
Threats of foreign interference are also a concern.
In 2016 it was revealed two Florida county election supervisors were the target of attacks from Russia, though no vote totals were altered.
Florida Secretary of State Cord Byrd told Action News Jax since then, the state has invested millions to beef up cyber security.
“We have what we call cyber navigators and so they work with the supervisors of elections offices and constantly monitor threats because just like in any other facet of the tech world our systems are constantly being probed,” said Byrd.
The Division of Elections also has a newly established unit dedicated to investigating election crimes.
The unit has made a few dozen arrests this year, a testament to the rareness of fraud according to Binder.
“Those things are single-digit votes across the state where there’s going to be in this, you know, eight or nine million ballots cast,” said Binder.
The State of Florida has also made numerous changes to election procedures and ballot design over the past two decades to prevent fraud and ensure the accuracy of the vote.
Many of those changes were sparked after the infamous recount of 2000.
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