- Pennsylvania resident Bruce Bartman has been charged with voter fraud for allegedly pretending to be his dead mother to cast an extra vote for President Donald Trump.
- The Trump campaign flagged his mother's name in an email blast to supporters more than a month ago.
- President-elect Joe Biden ultimately won Pennsylvania by more than 80,000 votes.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
On November 11, the Trump campaign sent an email blast to its supporters, claiming to have discovered three instances of voter fraud.
The campaign said that the identities of three dead people had been used to cast illegal votes in Pennsylvania. John Granahan, Judy Presto, and Elizabeth Bartman have been dead for years, and they had the obituaries to prove it.
They turned out to be right in one case. An illegal vote was cast in Elizabeth Bartman's name. Prosecutors say her son, Bruce Bartman, impersonated her to cast an additional ballot by mail. Bruce Bartman's lawyer told Insider he plans to plead guilty.
"Elizabeth Bartman of Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania is shown as having registered to vote in September 2020 and cast a ballot in last week's election, even though she died in 2008. The Philadelphia Inquirer ran an obituary after Bartman's passing," the Trump campaign correctly noted.
The Trump campaign didn't include one important detail, though: Bartman cast the illegal ballot in his dead mom's name to vote for President Donald Trump.
"He was angry at people criticizing the president and complaining about the election process, and he wanted to do what he considered civil disobedience by registering his mother and voting her," the attorney, Samuel Stretton, previously told Insider. "Of course, he was wildly mistaken."
Insider has not independently verified whether votes were actually cast in the names of Granahan and Presto, the other two deceased individuals named by the Trump campaign. No other independent reports or state agencies have corroborated that votes were cast in their names, either. President-elect Joe Biden ultimately won Pennsylvania by 82,000 votes, so the three votes the Trump campaign claims were illegal would not have swayed the election result.
The Trump campaign has frequently made false claims about dead people who ostensibly voted. In November, it released a list of such names from Georgia voter rolls, but subsequent reporting found that those people were very much alive.
Stretton told Insider that Bartman's vote in his mother's name was discovered by the New York Times, who had asked county officials about the names on the Trump campaign's list. A spokesperson for the Times told Insider that it did not ultimately publish details about Bartman at the time because it could not verify the Trump campaign's claims.
"Times reporters asked election officials about the case, after the name was circulated by the Trump campaign," Times spokesperson Danielle Rhoades Ha told Insider. "We did not include details about Bruce Bartman in our coverage because the Delaware County election officials did not respond."
Delaware County prosecutors said that Bartman's was the only voter fraud case that checked out after looking into hundreds of tips.
Representatives for Lehigh County and Allegheny County, where Granahan and Presto lived respectively, did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.
Voter fraud is extremely rare in the United States. A database maintained by the right-wing Heritage Foundation found that fewer than 200 cases were convicted between 2000 and 2020, a time period in which hundreds of millions of votes have been cast.
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