When voters cast a ballot in person in New Jersey, they are required to sign a poll book to match their signature to election records. The same is true of mail-in ballots, and election officials check the ballot to make sure the signatures match.
During the state’s primary on July 7, election officials will notify voters if they reject a ballot because of a signature mismatch. Burns said it was not only a way for voters to ensure their vote is counted, but also functions as a warning that another person may have attempted to vote fraudulently in their name.
UC Irvine’s Hasen said the security measures used in New Jersey were likely enough to raise the suspicion of authorities. “Even on this small scale, what you see is that having a conspiracy like this to try to affect the outcome of an election is very difficult to do without detection.”
Burns suggested the rare instances of election fraud are not typically committed by individual voters themselves but rather organized groups.
“This is not a voter fraud issue,” she said. “It’s crimes being committed against voters.”
Hasen emphasized that the Paterson case shows how difficult carrying out the kind of widespread fraud Trump insists is possible.
“Imagine trying to swing the outcome of a presidential election, how many people you would have to get involved or how many ballots you would have to try to intercept without detection in order to try to have a meaningful impact on races that are typically decided by tens of thousands of votes if not more in a particular state,” said Hasen.