Poll: Voter fraud, foreign interference top election security concerns

Americans view voter fraud and foreign interference as two of the biggest threats to safe and fair elections in the United States, according to a new Hill/HarrisX poll.

The survey released Friday found that more than a quarter of registered voters, 27 percent, view voter fraud as the top concern for U.S. elections, followed by foreign interference at 19 percent.

Another 14 percent said that viral misinformation was a major concern, while the same percentage called voter suppression the biggest issue facing U.S. elections.

Eight percent of voters said poor administration of elections was a concern, while 17 percent said they were not worried about election security altogether.



The poll found partisan differences surrounding views of electoral threats.

Republicans in the poll were more likely to call voter fraud the biggest threat to elections, with four in 10 GOP voters (40 percent) viewing it as a major issue – double the number of Democrats.

Democrats, meanwhile, were more likely to say that foreign interference was the biggest threat to electoral security – 27 percent, compared to 10 percent for Republicans – followed by voter suppression, 21 percent compared to 9 percent for Republicans.

Among Independents, nearly a quarter (24 percent) said voter fraud was the biggest issue, followed by foreign interference (20 percent), viral misinformation (15 percent) and voter suppression (13 percent).

For voters who said they do not worry about threats to election security, Democrats were the least likely to say they aren't concerned at just 12 percent, compared to 19 percent of surveyed Republicans and 19 percent of Independents.

"It’s not surprising that voter fraud would rise to the top in terms of a list of concerns. People have heard about the issue for a very long time, and they feel strongly about the integrity of the ballot.  Voter fraud represents a threat to that. They’ve also heard a lot about foreign interference and so it isn’t surprising that is ranks as a top concern," Karlyn Bowman, public opinion analyst and senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told The Hill.

"Republicans have been expressing deep concern about voter fraud for decades, so it tops the list of their concerns. And Democrats express the greatest concern about foreign interference," she added.

The release of the poll comes amid new reports of Russian interference in the 2020 election and as Democrats battle for a chance to take on President TrumpDonald John TrumpWith VP pick, Biden can't play small ball in a long ball world Coronavirus hits defense contractor jobs Wake up America, your country doesn't value your life MORE in November.

Lawmakers have warned of potential foreign interference this year after the U.S. intelligence community said Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election in an effort to boost Trump.

The Hill-HarrisX poll of 1,001 registered voters conducted online Feb. 14-15 and has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. 

—Gabriela Schulte