“While these are serious allegations, it is vitally important to understand that after two years of investigation there is no credible — and I can strike credible and just put evidence — there is no evidence that these incidents caused a single vote or a single voter registration to be improperly altered during the 2016 election cycle,” Ashcroft said. “It was not our votes or our election systems that were hacked — it was the people’s perception of our elections.”
This is not to say U.S. elections are perfect, that there was no fraud or that there was no unlawful corruption of votes, he said.
“The evidence indicates that voter fraud is an exponentially greater threat than hacking of our election equipment,” he said.
Ashcroft cited a 2010 Missouri House primary election that was determined by a single vote. Missouri Rep. John Joseph Rizzo’s relatives later admitted to illegally claiming a Kansas City address. Their two votes could have changed the results of the primary.
Rizzo said at the time that he wasn’t aware of the illegal votes.
Ashcroft made voter fraud, and the implementation of a photo ID requirement to vote to prevent fraud, a cornerstone of his successful 2016 campaign for secretary of state. The Rizzo race was an oft-cited example of the type of fraud he said exists in Missouri elections.
His critics are quick to note that Rizzo’s relatives committed registration fraud, not voter impersonation fraud, and thus would not have been thwarted by a photo ID requirement to vote. There has never been a reported case of voter impersonation fraud in Missouri.
Ashcroft’s testimony came two days after a federal judge struck down a Kansas law intended to prevent voter fraud by requiring people to provide proof of citizenship, such as a passport or birth certificate, before they could register to vote.
In a three-week trial earlier this year, the judge found, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach failed to show convincing evidence of voter fraud. She also found that the law disproportionately affects rightful voters.
Senate Democrats at the hearing took issue with Ashcroft’s assertion that voter fraud was an “exponentially” bigger threat to election security than hacking.