Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fact checking the final presidential debate on voter fraud, national debt, border security, refugees

The final presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump contained plenty of factual errors. We only have room here for a few. If you want to re-publish them, we encourage you to look at reports by The Washington Post's Fact Checker unit, and for full context and things you may want to add.

Trump, who has suggested the election could be rigged, cited a Pew Center on the States study, in saying, "If you look at your voter rolls, you will see millions of people that are registered to vote … that shouldn’t be registered to vote.” Post fact-checkers Glenn Kessler and Michelle Ye Hee Le point out that the study did not indicate there was widespread voter fraud, but found "more than 1.8 million records for people who are deceased, but whose registrations were still on voter rolls. About 2.75 million people were registered to vote in more than one state. This could happen if voters move to a new state and register to vote without notifying their former state. Outdated technology, shrinking government budgets and paper-based registration systems contributed to inaccuracies and inefficiencies."

Clinton said her economic plans "do not add a penny to the debt," but "the nonpartisan Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which has analyzed the economic impact of every proposal by both nominees," concluded that her plan would "add $200 billion over a decade, which is a relatively small amount compared to the debt," the fact-checkers note. "That $200 billion could be canceled out by Clinton’s business tax reform plan, which is estimated to generate $275 billion in revenue. . . . Trump’s plans would add $5.3 trillion to the debt."

Trump, who supports building a wall along the Mexican border, said, "Hillary Clinton wanted the wall. Hillary Clinton fought for the wall in 2006 or thereabouts. Now, she never gets anything done, so naturally the wall wasn’t built. But Hillary Clinton wanted the wall.” Kessler and Le write, "Clinton supported the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which authorized the construction of fencing along the U.S.-Mexico border. The fence is mostly vehicle barriers and single-layer pedestrian fence. Trump has called for a border wall of precast concrete, as tall as 30 to 60 feet."

Trump said, “She’s taking in tens of thousands of Syrian refugees, who probably in many cases — not probably, who are definitely in many cases, ISIS-aligned, and we now have them in our country.” Kessler and Le write, "Trump has no evidence to make this claim. The U.S. accepted about 13,000 Syrian refugees in the 2016 fiscal year, and Clinton wants to increase that number. But refugees spend as long as two years being vetted by U.S. counter terrorism experts. So not only would it be difficult to infiltrate the system, but it would be time-consuming, compared to simply getting a tourist visa to enter the country." (Read more)

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