TMZ Misquoted Officials About Fears of Voter Fraud

Pro Publica/Electionland:

Yesterday TMZ posted an article declaring voter fraud to be “a real concern”. (Yes, that TMZ.) Here’s how the story begins:

NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and most blogs are trying to convince you there is virtually NO EVIDENCE of voter fraud, so Trump’s fears are bogus … but we drilled down and some officials who run the voting systems around the country are VERY worried about fraudulent voting.

But here’s the thing: Two of the three election officials the story cites told us TMZ attributes things to them they did not say, and that they have no concerns whatsoever about the possibility of voter fraud.

“That’s not what I said,” Marcy Crawford, the Republican Deputy Commissioner of the Board of Elections for Allegany County, New York, said after we read what TMZ had attributed to her. The story does not quote Crawford directly, but says that Crawford “tells us voter fraud in her county is a real concern. She says everyone’s talking about it in her office.”

While Crawford said she told TMZ she had “heard talk” of concerns of voter fraud elsewhere, she also said she told TMZ she had no concerns about actual fraud in her southern New York County, nor does anyone else in her office. Crawford’s colleague, Democratic Deputy Commissioner Barbara Broughton, said she was present for the TMZ interview, and confirmed that TMZ misreported the conversation. Broughton stressed that every step of the process is double checked and bipartisan. “I don’t see how [fraud] is even possible,” she said.

John Arntz, director of the Department of Elections in San Francisco County, California, also said he never told TMZ he was concerned about fraud. While he said TMZ accurately described how a voter’s identity is checked in California — that poll workers must confirm voters’ namees and addresses — he said TMZ falsely reported that he “concedes that it leaves the system open to fraud.”

“I did not say that this means our system is open to fraud since there are many checks and balances in place regarding the casting of ballots,” Arntz told us. “In the 14 years since I’ve been here, voter fraud has not been an issue and I don’t expect it to be an issue going forward.”

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