UFO Sightings Are 3,615 Times More Common than Voter Fraud

A UFO, or flying saucer, above a dark city and under a full moon.
A UFO, or flying saucer, above a dark city and under a full moon. (Image credit: oorka | Shutterstock)

People are 3,615 times more likely to report a UFO sighting than they are to commit in-person voter impersonation, according to national data.

The striking statistic has surfaced at the same time as the news that a new voter ID law in Pennsylvania could render nearly 10 percent of the state's residents ineligible to vote in the presidential election this fall.

National UFO Reporting Center records show there were 47,000 reports of UFO sightings between 2000 and 2010. During the same period, just 13 people were convicted of impersonating someone else in order to vote in their name, according to research by Justin Levitt, associate professor of law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. [UFO Quiz: What's Really Out There]

Mother Jones assembled the numbers in order to fact-check claims by many Republican lawmakers that their states are facing rampant voter fraud.

Since 2011, 24 voting restrictions have passed in 17 states. This fall, new laws could affect more than 5 million voters in states representing 179 of the 270 electoral votes needed to win the presidency, Mother Jones reports. Studies indicate low-income and minority voters are most often disenfranchised by laws requiring voters to have government-issued photo IDs. For example, 25 percent of voting-age African-Americans don't have valid IDs.

Following Mother Jones' lead, Comedy Central's Indecision blog rounded up a few more national statistics to help put the 13 confirmed cases of voter impersonation into perspective:

Each year, 15 Americans are crushed to death by their furniture or televisions. Fourteen are injured by exploding toilets, and 100 are accidentally set on fire by their doctors during surgery. And Americans are 3 million times more likely to have a favorable view of North Korea than to commit voter fraud.

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Live Science Staff
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