2016 Democratic primaries

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The 2016 Democratic primaries featured Hillary Clinton, the initial favorite to win, facing off against Bernie Sanders, a former unknown who challenged her from the left and turned out to be an unusually-strong candidate. Throughout the primaries, Sanders and his supporters faced massive election irregularities indicating widespread fraud. Exit polls consistently missed in Clinton's favor, thousands of Sanders supporters lost their right to vote, and election audits were corrupted.

Pre-election polls

Exit polls

Edison Research conducted exit polls for most of the 2016 primaries (both parties) up until West Virginia on May 10. After May 10, the media cancelled future exit polls. Whether it was due to a belief that the outcome of both primaries was already determined or a desire to cover-up discrepancies is unknown.

Exit polls for the 2016 Dem primaries

The Democratic primaries exhibited a strong Clinton shift. In 21 out of 25 states, Clinton's official lead over Sanders was higher than what the exit polls reported. The few times the exit polls missed in Sanders' favor, the discrepancy was small and inside the margin of error, while many misses favoring Clinton were extreme (as high as 14% in Alabama). It would be virtually impossible for this to occur due to random error.[1] And the GOP primary exit polls matched almost perfectly, indicating precinct sampling wasn't the issue.[2]

Another possibility is that the exit polls were systematically biased against Clinton. But the major proposed theories - early/absentee vote miscounting, an enthusiasm gap, and youth overrepresentation - aren't backed up by the evidence:

  • Early/absentee voting being misestimated (undercounted or overcounted) was insufficient to cause many of the Clinton shifts, particularly the larger ones.
  • Enthusiasm gaps failed to cause discrepancies on the GOP side (when comparing Trump to other candidates), and produced the opposite of what the theory would indicate on the Dem side: massive Clinton enthusiasm advantages correlated with some of the largest Clinton shifts.
  • Youth overrepresentation outright fails to explain many states' discrepancies, and the exit poll discrepancies decreased with greater youth support for Sanders, which is the opposite of what youth overrepresentation would produce.

All of these theories are individually weak, and the counterintuitive nature of the latter two makes it unlikely that they could have produced a shift in tandem.[3][4]

No major polling error theory can explain the Clinton shift. If the Clinton shift wasn't caused by random error or systematic bias, then it's likely the exit polls were actually quite accurate. Barring a successful polling error explanation, it's logical to believe that the exit polls successfully captured voter intent. In that case, it must be answered why the official results fail to reflect it.

General issues

Several techniques were employed to harm Bernie Sanders and boost Hillary Clinton during the 2016 Democratic primaries, ranging from DNC manipulation of the primary process to direct election fraud through voter disenfranchisement and machine rigging.

DNC manipulation

The Democratic primaries were subject to the familiar election fraud tactics seen in past elections, as well as unethical political manipulation by the DNC and Clinton campaign. A distinction between election fraud and DNC manipulation of the primary process is worth making. Primary elections were run by state governments, not the Democratic Party, so fraud in primaries fit the same profile as the fraud in general elections. That fraud would have been committed by election insiders: election officials, vendors, and contractors. On the other hand, the DNC did control primary scheduling, debates, campaign finance, and caucuses, and they used that control to give Clinton an unwarranted advantage.

Some noteworthy examples of DNC manipulation include:

  • Collusion and favoritism: [5][6]
  • Primary scheduling:
  • Debate scheduling:
  • Media manipulation:
  • FEC violations:
  • Leaking debate questions:
  • Caucus rigging:

These tactics were highly unethical and in violation of DNC bylaws, but largely distinct from election fraud. The DNC unfairly used its role to give Clinton a political boost, but no direct evidence showed them interfering directly with the voting process. It is, however, possible that in addition to political manipulation, the Clinton campaign or DNC played a role in organizing election fraud.

Registration tampering

Main article: 2016 Democratic primaries registration tampering

Throughout the primaries, countless Sanders supporters found themselves disenfranchised due to voter registration issues. Many had their party affiliation changed from Democrat, making them ineligible to vote in closed primaries. Others were purged from the rolls entirely or made ineligible in some other way (like address changes). None of these changes were initiated by the voter, indicating an unknown actor tampering with registration info. And Sanders supporters were practically the only voters to report such issues, which heavily implies they were specifically targeted for disenfranchisement.

Disenfranchisement of Sanders supporters partially explains the exit poll discrepancies. Many states had unusually high numbers of provisional ballots, especially Arizona and New York, which had very apparent registration issues. Since Sanders supporters were the main victims of being ineligible to vote, most of the provisional ballots likely went for Sanders. If these provisional voters talked to exit pollsters, but had their ballot uncounted (as most were, since they were listed as ineligible), the exit polls would show more support for Sanders than the vote counts.

Electronic vote rigging

The exit polls also indicated electronic vote count manipulation in Clinton's favor. Even accounting for provisional voting, the exit poll discrepancies were quite substantial, a sign of widespread vote miscount. Correlative and statistical analysis backs up the presence of vote rigging: greater exit poll discrepancies occured in states that were easier to rig (less secure machines and poorer audits), and especially in states with large exit poll discrepancies, Clinton's vote share increased with precinct size in a way demographics fail to explain, a telltale sign of vote rigging.[3][4]

Post-election audits and exit poll discrepancies
State Exit poll discrepancy Audit procedures Manipulated audits
Alabama 14.0% None
Georgia 12.2% None
West Virginia 12.0% 5% None known
New York 11.6% 3% None known
South Carolina 10.3% None
Ohio 10.0% None
Mississippi 9.9% None
Texas 9.3% 1% (often no paper) Lack of paper allows manipulation
Tennessee 8.3% 3% (often no paper) Lack of paper allows manipulation
Massachusetts 8.0% None
Indiana 5.7% None
Arkansas 5.2% None
Michigan 4.6% None
Virginia 4.3% None
Illinois 4.1% 5% Chicago DRE audit
Missouri 3.9% 1% None known
Florida 3.4% 1% None known
Pennsylvania 2.6% 2% None known
Connecticut 2.2% 10% None known
North Carolina 1.7% Varies by county None known
Vermont 1.1% None
Maryland -0.6% Canvass, but no hand count None known
Wisconsin -2.0% 5% None known
New Hampshire -4.2% ? ?
Oklahoma -6.1% ? ?

[Add details and graphs from the EJUSA report and Marionumber1 blog post]

Electronic vote rigging, by its nature, leaves little direct evidence. But corrupt post-election audits were observed, which implied a desire to obscure a corrupt vote count. In Chicago IL, the hand tally of several DRE paper trails showed that Sanders did better than reported, something the election officials covered up. In San Diego CA, there was a corrupt audit of vote-by-mail and provisional ballots, leaving their counts open to electronic tampering. With Chicago's early voting totals, there was a 9.2% vote share increase from small->large precincts favoring Clinton, and with San Diego's early voting totals, there was an 18.2% increase favoring Clinton.[3] The multiple proven occurrences of corrupt election audits, and their correspondence with statistical indicators of electronic manipulation, makes it clear that electronic vote rigging deserves to be taken seriously.


South Carolina





Main article: 2016 Illinois primary


Main article: 2016 Arizona primary

The 2016 Arizona primary was the first public example of election fraud in the Democratic primaries. Polling places were drastically cut compared to 2012, forcing voters to wait in line for hours. Countless prospective Democratic voters, nearly all Bernie Sanders supporters, found their registrations switched to make them ineligible to cast a ballot. And irregularities in the vote-by-mail results hinted at electronic manipulation in Hillary Clinton's favor.

New York

Main article: 2016 New York primary

The 2016 New York primary was set to be a major battle in the Democratic primaries. Bernie Sanders, riding a wave of momentum, was looking to unseat Hillary Clinton in her own home state. Despite an initially-tightening race, the pre-election polls mysteriously changed to put Clinton far ahead once again. She ultimately won a landslide victory, contradicting exit polls that showed only a close loss for Sanders. Thousands of voters, largely Sanders supporters, again suffered from voter roll irregularities. Statistical anomalies, meanwhile, pointed to electronic vote rigging in Clinton's favor.


Main article: 2016 California primary


  1. Dem primary exit polls: Ted Soares, "Democratic Party Table 2. 2016 Primaries", 2016/06/20
  2. GOP primary exit polls: Ted Soares, "Republican Party Table 2. 2016 Primaries", 2016/06/20
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Election Justice USA, "Democracy Lost: A Report on the Fatally Flawed 2016 Democratic Primaries", 2016/07/25
  4. 4.0 4.1 George Klees, "The Clinton Shift", 2016/09/18
  5. Donna Brazile, "Inside Hillary Clinton’s Secret Takeover of the DNC", 2017/11/02 - admission that the Clinton campaign effectively ran the DNC
  6. NPR, "Clinton Campaign Had Additional Signed Agreement With DNC In 2015", 2017/11/03 - agreement between the DNC and HFA in late 2015 forcing the DNC to base its decisions on HFA's desires

External links