With the 2020 election nearing, supporters of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have started speculating the reasons for Clinton’s loss to President Donald Trump in 2016. Clinton herself named voter suppression as a major reason to explain her failed presidential run.
The Washington Post pointed out that Clinton, in fact, made several factual errors, offered questionable claims about several studies, and ended up giving a misleading assessment of her loss in the presidential run.
“Experts estimate that anywhere from 27,000 to 200,000 Wisconsin citizen voters, predominantly in Milwaukee, were turned away from the polls,” Clinton said. “That’s a lot of potential voters. They showed up, but maybe they didn’t have the correct form of identification. … But officials made every excuse in the book to prevent certain people from voting in that election.”
Clinton also claimed that 40,000 to 80,000 people in Wisconsin were refused at the polls due to their skin color, age or “whatever excuse” in 2016.
However, Clinton’s spokesman did not cite any study for the 80,000 estimate, and that voter registration in Georgia did not decline from 2012 to 2016, according to The Washington Times.
Rick Hasen, an elections expert at the University of California, Irvine knocked down Clinton’s claim, calling it “ludicrous.”
“The numbers of people who were turned away from the polls is likely much lower than Clinton says,” Hasen stated.
A study conducted by The University of Wisconsin (UW) has estimated that a total of 12,000 registrants were affected by the ID requirement in those two counties.
But the findings contradict how Clinton phrased her claim, according to the author of the study.
“Our measure captures people who both say they were turned away but also people who didn’t even bother because they didn’t think they could vote,” professor of American Politics at UW Kenneth R. Mayer told PolitiFact Wisconsin. “Our estimate is that it’s plausible to think that the voter ID law reduced overall turnout somewhere in the range of 1% in these counties, but that doesn’t get you anywhere close to [Clinton’s] numbers.”
A news release, according to Politifact, announced that most of the respondents who said they did not vote due to a lack of ID “actually possessed a qualifying form of ID.” The Politifact report saw it as ridiculous to group those people into the “turned away” category as Clinton did, as factually they would not have been refused based on ID had they gone to the polls.
“There is no possibility that [200,000] happened, because that would have been on the order of 60 people per polling place,” Mayer said while referring to the state’s roughly 3,500 polling locations.
Clinton holds that voters were “turned away” from voting in 2016 due to lack of appropriate identification, though studies examining voter ID say nothing of the sort, according to Politifact.
Experts said that there is no reliable number for how many voters were physically turned away, but the existing evidence proves the number to be far less than the range cited by Clinton.
The Washington Post, Politifact among many other media have all ruled Clinton’s claim as a hoax.