A university study appearing to corroborate President Donald Trump's claim that non-citizens voted in the 2016 election is provoking backlash from a group of political scientists who want to discredit both that study and others with similar findings.
The study by Old Dominion University political science professor Jesse Richman and three of his colleagues estimated that millions of non-citizens could have registered to vote in U.S. elections. 90 political scientists signed a letter discrediting that study, according to the Washington Times.
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"The scholarly political science community has generally rejected the findings in the Richman et al. study and we believe it should not be cited or used in any debate over fraudulent voting," the letter reads.
The political scientists claim that their findings put the number of illegal voters at zero, despite the presence of around 20 million noncitizens in the U.S.
Richman's study surveyed voters with a questionnaire which included inquiries on citizen status. "A significant number" of respondents acknowledged that they were not citizens when they voted.
Richman stood by his results, criticizing the professors' letter as containing "several criticial distortions and mistakes." But he also accused Trump of "misconstruing" his studies, the Times reported.
"Ultimately, I believe that the debate over fraudulent voting can best advance through a thoughtful exchange of views rather than an attempt to discourage citation or consideration of any study," Richman said.