Half of Voters Say Trump’s Guilty of Trying to Overturn 2020 Election - But 21% of Mail-In Voters Confess to Fraud

Craig Bannister | December 14, 2023
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Nearly half of voters say former President Donald Trump is guilty of attempting to overturn the 2020 election and, if found guilty, should go to prison – but, one in five who voted by mail actually admit to have committed voter fraud, new national surveys reveal.

Fully 47% of U.S. likely voters believe Trump is guilty of crimes associated with an alleged attempt to overturn the 2020 election, results of a Rasmussen/Heartland Institute survey released this week show. And, if found guilty, 44% think he should be sent to prison.

At the heart of the issue is Trump’s public insistence that voter fraud cost him the 2020 presidential election, which Democrats’ claim is proof that he criminally incited the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot.

Trump is scheduled to stand trial in March of next year regarding Democrats’ allegations, in a case prosecuted by Special Counsel Jack Smith. Seventy-two percent (72%) of Democrats say they think Trump is guilty of crimes in the case, as do 20% of Republicans and 45% of voters not affiliated with either major party.

But, results of a separate Rasmussen/Heartland Institute survey released this week suggest that there was, indeed, significant voter fraud that impacted the 2020 election.

Thirty percent (30%) of those surveyed said they voted by absentee or mail-in ballot in the 2020 election. Of those, the following types of voter fraud were reported:

  • 21% say they filled out a ballot, in part or in full, on behalf of a friend or family member.
  • 19% say a friend or family member filled out their ballot, in part or in full, on their behalf.
  • 17% say that they cast a ballot in a state where they were no longer a permanent resident.
  • 17% say they signed a ballot or ballot envelope on behalf of a friend or family member, with or without their permission. 


All of these practices are illegal, according to Heartland Institute officials.

Curiously, the survey found that 8% say that a friend, family member, or organization, such as a political party, offered to pay or reward them for voting in the 2020 - but, didn't ask if they accepted the bribe.

More Biden voters (36%) than Trump voters (23%) say they voted by absentee or mail-in ballot in the 2020 election. 

“The results of this survey are nothing short of stunning,” Heartland Director of the Socialism Research Center Justin Haskins said, commenting on the grave implication of the findings:

“For the past three years, Americans have repeatedly been told that the 2020 election was the most secure in history. But if this poll’s findings are reflective of reality, the exact opposite is true.

“This conclusion isn’t based on conspiracy theories or suspect evidence, but rather from the responses made directly by the voters themselves.”

“If we needed any more evidence of the political left’s troubling descent into authoritarianism, this poll provides it in spades," Heartland Research Editor and Fellow Jack McPherrin added, noting the dire consequences of pre-judging and falsely convicting Trump:

"The number of Americans – especially Democrats – who already presume Trump’s guilt is already highly concerning.

“And, if he’s found guilty, more than three-quarters of Democrats believe he should be banned from public office, with approximately one-fifth opting to jail him for life, put him permanently in exile, or execute him."