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PolitiFact: Donald Trump flubs policy details on voter registration, taxation

Donald Trump continued to make the case Sunday that his win as the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party came despite a primary process that was rigged against him.

Trump complained repeatedly about election problems, so NBC host Chuck Todd of Meet the Press asked Trump if he supports policies that make it easier for people to vote, such as same-day voter registration.

Trump said no.

"No, no," Trump said. "I don't think people should sneak in through the cracks. And whether that's an ID or any way you want to do it. But you have to be a citizen to vote."

"Well, of course," Todd replied. "That is the law as it stands already."

Trump disagreed: "No, it's not. I mean, you have places where people just walk in and vote."

Trump is wrong that noncitizens could "just walk in and vote." That claim rates False.

In most states, including Florida, people have to register to vote well in advance of election day. But 15 states and the District of Columbia have or are about to have same-day voter registration.

Election experts told us those states put safeguards in place to verify identity, even with same-day registration.

"It's not that you can just show up and vote — you have to register and provide necessary ID," said Michael McDonald, a political science professor at the University of Florida.

The specifics vary by state because each state makes its own election laws. For example, some, but not all, states have an electronic database that they can use to check a same-day registrant's eligibility on the spot. Others, like Iowa and New Hampshire, send a mailer to all same-day registrants, and if the card is returned as undeliverable, the state will investigate the case as potential election fraud.

"For presidential elections, all states require voters to be U.S. citizens, and there is nothing inherent about same-day registration that would make it easier for noncitizens to vote," said Joshua Douglas, an election law professor at the University of Kentucky College of Law.

Every expert we asked told us that there are anecdotal examples of noncitizens voting in federal elections, but it's rare. And there isn't any evidence that it's more prevalent in the states with election day registration.

Is the U.S. highest taxed in the world?

Trump released a tax plan in September that would give big tax cuts to the wealthy. But Trump said this week he's considering raising taxes on the rich.

"Should we assume that most of your plans, then, we shouldn't take you at your words, as sort of that they're floors?" Todd asked Trump.

"It is called life, Chuck. … People can say it's a tax plan. It's really a tax proposal. Because after I put it in, and I think you know the Senate and Congress, you know as much as anybody, they start working with you and they start fighting," Trump responded. "But I'm not under the illusion that it's going to pass. They're going to come to me. They're going to want to raise it for the rich more than anybody else."

He then explained why, despite that, he's still sticking to his guns and giving "a massive" tax cut to businesses: "We're the highest taxed nation in the world."

This is a version of one of Trump's oft-repeated talking points, and it's inaccurate. The claim rates False.

When we looked at this claim in the past, we compared the United States to the 33 other industrialized nations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

Data from 2014, the most recent year available, shows that the United States wasn't the most highly taxed by the typical metrics and actually places near the bottom or around the middle of the pack.

Trump specified this time that he was talking about business taxes, but the essential data doesn't back him there, either.

Trump would have been more accurate if he had been more specific. The United States does have one of the highest top marginal corporate tax rates in the world. However, companies pay less in practice because they can take deductions and exclusions. When we look at the actual tax burden on U.S. companies, it's far from highest in the world.

We looked at tax revenues as a percentage of the gross domestic product, or GDP, a measure of how large a nation's economy is. On overall tax revenue as a percentage of GDP, the United States is 31st. (Denmark is first.) On business taxes — specifically, corporate tax revenue as a percentage of GDP — the United States is 17th. (Norway is first.)

The World Bank's data for 2012 (the last year for which it has complete figures) also placed the United States near the bottom in tax revenue as a percentage of GDP.

Edited for print. Read the full version at

The statement

"You have to be a citizen to vote," but with same-day voter registration, "you have places where people just walk in and vote."

Donald Trump, May 8 in a "Meet the Press" interview

The ruling

PolitiFact ruling: False
While rules vary by state, none allows people to show up on Election Day and simply vote. States have requirements that same-day registrants provide identification and other proofs of residency. We rate the statement False.

The statement

"We're the highest taxed nation in the world."

Donald Trump, May 8 in a "Meet the Press" interview

The ruling

PolitiFact ruling: False
By any reasonable comparison, the United States is not the highest taxed country in the world. Nominal corporate rates in the United States are high, but businesses have exclusions and deductions that tend to lower the actual tax bill. Several studies show the United States is in the middle of the pack when it comes to both overall taxation and corporate taxation. We rate the statement False.

PolitiFact: Donald Trump flubs policy details on voter registration, taxation 05/08/16 [Last modified: Sunday, May 8, 2016 10:44pm]
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