Rigged election: Hillary Clinton’s early-voting lead in Florida was mathematically insurmountable

Of the numerous reasons why most observers on both sides expected Hillary Clinton win the 2016 election heading into Election Day, perhaps the most glaring was the fact that she had seemingly already won the state of Florida based on early-voting alone. It’s why it came as such a shock when Donald Trump somehow pulled off the upset in the state by one percent of the vote, a difference which would have swung the entire election. But in yet another piece of evidence that the voting tallies may have been rigged, a closer examination of the early-voting numbers suggests that Trump’s victory in Florida wasn’t just unlikely – it was mathematically insurmountable.

Here’s what we know about Florida for sure: of the 9.1 million people who voted in the state, roughly seventy percent of them – or 6.6 million people – voted early. The early voters consisted of only slightly more registered Democrats than registered Republicans. However, the most prominent exit poll of Florida early voters showed that 28% of registered Republicans had voted for Hillary Clinton, with just 6% of registered Democrats having voted for Trump. Republican strategist Mike Murphy expressed skepticism that the number could have been that high, but even he pegged it as being closer to the mid-teens.

When you do the math, you see that Hillary Clinton had such a massive early voting lead in her pocket in Florida that – depending on which end of the crossover vote totals you want to lean toward – it turns out Donald Trump would have needed to get somewhere between 59% and 71% of the Election Day voting in the state in order to catch up. Here’s the breakdown, based on numbers available from the state of Florida’s official early vote tallies:

If the early voting exit poll I linked to two paragraphs above is correct, it means Hillary Clinton got 94% of the registered Democrat early vote, or 2472223 out of 2630025 votes. It means she also got 28% of the registered Republican vote, or 709418 out of 2533635 votes. The exit polling didn’t reveal how early voters from neither party broke down. But let’s assume the 1443922 independent early votes were split down the middle between Clinton and Trump. In this we’re giving Hillary 721961 out of the 1443922 independent votes. I can make a demographic argument for why registered independents tend to skew younger and therefore may have been more likely to vote for Hillary, but I’m going to stick with an even split.

That gives Hillary an early vote total of 3903602 votes, with Trump getting the remaining 2703890 early votes (his early vote tally being based on 72% of registered Republicans, 6% of registered Democrats, and 50% of registered independents). That means Hillary received 59% of the total early vote in Florida.

This was across roughly seventy percent of all votes cast in the state, meaning that based on early voting along, she already had (59% of 70%) a whopping 41.3% of all the votes she needed to win the state – and she only needed to get another 8.7% of the total on election day to reach the 50% mark. In turn that means that she would have needed just 29% of the election day voting, which represented a total of 30% of the vote, in order to get the remaining 8.7% she needed. In other words, in this model, Trump would have needed to get 71% of the election day voting in order to catch up and get back to even.

If we’re to instead use Mike Murphy’s on-air estimate on MSNBC that a mid-teen number of republicans crossed over to vote for Hillary Clinton in Florida, which we’ll formalize as being 15%, the above numbers shift accordingly. Since he didn’t provide any estimate of Democratic crossover for Trump, we’ll once again go with 6% for the sake of consistency, and we’ll stick with each candidate getting 50% of the independent vote. These numbers work out to Hillary getting 54% of the early voting, or based on seventy percent of all votes having been cast early, 37.8 of all the total votes cast. That means on election day she would have needed another 12.2% of the total vote, or 41% of the election day vote. In other words, even in this model, Trump would have needed 59% of the election day vote in order to catch up and get back to even.

So these two models, one based on Florida exit polling and the other based on the expert opinion of a fair minded Republican political operative, say that Donald Trump would have needed somewhere between 59% and 71% of the election day vote in Florida in order to overcome Hillary Clinton’s early vote lead and tie things up in the state. Democrats are somewhat more likely to early vote and Republicans are somewhat more likely to wait until the day of voting. And both of my above models are based on Trump simply coming back to tie things up in Florida. For him to have won the state by one percent of the vote, as claimed, he would have needed around 62% to 74% of the election day vote, an even steeper hill to climb. But while that’s mathematically possible in the theoretical sense, it’s mathematically insurmountable in any real world scenario.

So what the hell happened? That’s a good question. Despite the exit poll documentation showing just how many registered Republican Cuban-Americans were crossing over to vote for Hillary Clinton due to Donald Trump’s extreme anti-Hispanic policies, the official vote tallies in Hispanic dominated Miami-Dade County insist that Hillary only got around the same percentage of the vote in 2016 that Barack Obama got in 2012 despite the fact that his opponent Mitt Romney was not seen as being overtly racist. Trump’s impossible win in Florida was just one of numerous mathematical unlikelihoods and impossibilities around the nation that I’ve documented thus far.

All of Palmer Report's content is made available to you for free, with no subscription fees or paywalls. If you're a regular reader, feel free to contribute:

Bill Palmer is the founder and editor in chief of the political news outlet Palmer Report

Keep up to date with the latest Palmer Report articles via email.
Get the latest content first.
We respect your privacy.


  1. Karl on November 18, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    Ok, so what are they doing about it

  2. adkins on November 18, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    So now what?

  3. Carol Pena on November 18, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    This is true. Democrats had a huge lead in Flordia…Then, all of the sudden, Trump had won. Just didn’t had up to many people. Made no sense at all mathematically.

    • Ran Wise on November 21, 2016 at 9:53 am

      The same was true in Pennsylvania. When the polls closed, she was beating Trump 50 to 45. Which means that it was trending in her favor. So as votes continued to come in, logic says they were continuing to come in for both sides. By midnight (if my time is correct), he’d pulled ahead of her by 1% and they projected him to win. I was like. WHAT???? She had been trending ahead of him for at least 2 hours and all of a sudden, he pulled ahead. I had NEVER seen that before.

      • William Carr on November 24, 2016 at 4:48 pm

        If you were around in 2004, you saw this happen in Ohio.

        John Kerry was winning, and then the Vote Server crashed.

        The backup was hundreds of miles away in another State, under Republican control.

        And suddenly, John Kerry was losing at the same rate he’d been winning.

        Bush barely won Ohio, and barely won re-election.

        Ohio was under Republican control, and Kerry didn’t demand a Recount.

  4. Sharon Kathleen Johnson on November 18, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    My feeling is that the Florida vote was also rigged in the presidential race of Bush and Gore. Bush was dubbed “the Usurper” and his popular vote loss haunted his presidency. Trump’s presidency is likely to bear this same stigma, if it is allowed to proceed at all.

    • claudette pinet on November 20, 2016 at 5:26 pm

      I am shore it was Jed Bush said to his brother don’t worry I got Florida for you and he did

  5. Marty on November 18, 2016 at 10:58 pm

    I’m surprised no one has commented on this because there is simply too much anecdotal evidence to simply assump voters ALL changed their minds at the last minute. But wait, only 1% above Hillary’s vote changed the elections in exactly the needed states to pull off an impossible win. How did ALL the states have accurate polling except for a handful of swing states? Ignore Ohio, which was very tight, but the others? Blue states simply don’t go red because Trump visited them a few times in the last week. But a few people could. Paid off? Bribes? Or purged votes ?? Many reasons, but sadly, it seems unlikely we’ll ever know.

    And Trump pulls off yet another perfect con. ? I refuse to accept it. GET your data to HRC’s campaign. There’s ample time to investigate this. And if there is evidence, then they need to postpone the EV vote until we figure out what the hell is going on. !!

    Dont sit on this. .Send it off to EVERYONE!

    • claudette pinet on November 20, 2016 at 5:39 pm

      something as to be done ,I can’t believe that the People would have put this grabber ,cheater,cons,
      and a play boy center fold in the White House it’s a DISGRACE that going to cost lots of money
      that we don’t have

    • Ran Wise on November 21, 2016 at 9:57 am

      Marty, when Trump kept talking about a rigged election, he meant it. Whenever he says someone else is doing something, it means he’s the one doing it. Remember when he called Hillary unhinged, a bigot? He accuses others of what he’s guilty of.

    • mykgb420 on November 23, 2016 at 9:18 pm

      Voter fraud!

  6. Lou on November 19, 2016 at 10:39 am

    People need to got to their county and demand to see what their vote actually shows.

  7. ruth on November 19, 2016 at 10:55 am

    Is there a probe? Any action being taken on these accusations?

  8. Andre King on November 19, 2016 at 10:55 am

    Well, Orange/Mango Mussolini did say that the election was/is “rigged”…he didn’t say that is rigged for him

  9. Rose Meade on November 19, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    I know there’s a weasel in the hen house. According to the article in the “MotherJones.com” A Veteran Spy has Given the FBI Information Alleging a Russian Operation to Cultivate Donald Trump. Why hasn’t anybody looked into this? Why hasn’t anybody looked into Donald Trump’s computer server? The FBI and the media is so ready to throw OUR Hillary to the wolves over “emails”that they over-look Trump’s email’s. Trump openly admitted right after the election that he won because of NOT only with Russia’s help. But also because Ryan, Pence and himself had something to do with rigging the elections. Is this hot air coming from his mouth? Has anybody checked into this? Why doesn’t one of our Judge’s take a look at all the illegal crap Trump has been doing since before the presidential race?

  10. Mark on November 19, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    If Russia could hack into the democratic presidential website, couldn’t they hack into these small state counties in the farmland of America and change the votes?? How is it possible that Trump could win all the battleground states by 1 percent or less when Hillary was so far ahead in the polls? Especially since every poll had her ahead by 4 to 10 points ahead of Trump.

    • Carol Eishen on December 6, 2016 at 8:05 pm

      Republicans and their voting machines were working overtime this election. Suppressing voters from voting, machines being tampered with, missing ballots, etc. If Republicans really cared about being a democracy, they would be investigating all the fraud happening in our elections. They have been cheating for years because it’s the only way they can win. The popular vote counts prove it.

  11. DWM on November 19, 2016 at 10:40 pm

    It wasn’t just Florida that looked mathematically impossible. One state after another showed Trump winning within an almost impossibly small margin. I could believe those numbers for one or two states, but it happened over and over again. It was very obvious to me it was rigged. The minute Clinton was ahead and appeared to be winning a state, there would suddenly be an avalanche of votes at the last minute for Trump. The election was rigged, and it seemed very obvious to me.

  12. Creshiana on November 20, 2016 at 5:45 am

    I propose a Florida Re-Vo(l)te !!!!

  13. Tom Miller on November 20, 2016 at 6:30 am

    I think our mail in ballots were tossed

  14. Anonymous on November 20, 2016 at 7:32 am

    Russian votes made the difference …. if they can hack into the most secured systems in this world … a voting registry machine guarded vigilantly by people that introduce us to the word “chad” a few years ago ….and still call twitter “the twitter” was no match for Putin’s best hackers… December 19th is the deadline to find proof and convince the electoral votes to side with Clinton ?..after that we all be Russian puppets while Trum is in a golf course somewhere …with the keys of the White House given to the kkk

  15. Natalie King on November 20, 2016 at 7:35 am

    The Donald was too quiet during voting day. I figure he had a heads up that the key electoral states were going to be Hacked to make him win. Many of those states is where we saw “computer issues” that were resolved the morning of voting. Kind of suspicious if you ask me. It needs to be investigated paper against machine to verify, because there is definitely something very wrong here. We can only hope the electoral college will do the right thing and give it to Hillary by the popular vote.

  16. Pat on November 20, 2016 at 8:12 am

    Even Chuck Todd who appeared to hate HRC on a visceral level predicted FL would be called for her by 10pm.

  17. Bayhuntr on November 20, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Besides all that we had the FBI commit election fraud 11 days before the election, and we had the Russian government swing the election to trump by doing basically a Watergate type break-in, but instead of typing phones they hacked emails from the DNC and gave them to Trumps campaign via WikiLeaks, or maybe directly since his campaign was in touch with rush at the time.

  18. […] political operative reached to me privately and asked for details on Florida, so I laid out this math demonstrating that Trump would have needed to get somewhere between 62% and 74% of the Election Day […]

  19. cjvt on November 20, 2016 at 3:33 pm

    WHEN is the recount? Would not surprise millions of people that Putin hand a dirty hand in rigging the election.

  20. Eileen Miller on November 20, 2016 at 3:54 pm

    I don’t disbelieve this but what can be done now?

    • Colleen on November 22, 2016 at 2:20 am

      Remember it was rigged to the Hilt…

    • Tyriq on November 25, 2016 at 2:35 pm

      recount, but they charge for it.

  21. Kathi on November 20, 2016 at 4:10 pm

    I know ‘gut feelings’ AKA Intuition is NOT an exact science, heck not even a ‘science’ at all. But over the years, I’ve learned to trust mine and something just does not add up! I have NEVER seen a map SO red in my Lifetime! And PA going red with the most hateful, ignorant, misogynistic, xenophobic, con man running for LEADER of the FREE World ~ NOPE. I’ll NEVER buy it. EVER. I’m going to continue calling my reps and senators, calling for an AUDIT of the election, an investigation into Trump’s financials and ties with RUSSIA and protesting this SICK and unbelievable UNreality. Because something is NOT RIGHT!

    • Sara on November 21, 2016 at 9:42 am

      I trust my intuition too. When it comes on this strongly I’ve NEVER been wrong. Yet. Something’s up. So what now?

  22. claudette pinet on November 20, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    now what we going to do about it ,please do something before it’s to late

  23. Kathie on November 20, 2016 at 6:15 pm

    So why is it when Trump thought the voting was rigged, and the Democrats said he just Better Accept it…… Does it not pertain to them ????

    • Suspicious Citizen on November 21, 2016 at 1:30 am

      Of course it would pertain to them, if they had been complicit with Russia/Putin/WikiLeaks/FBI and hacking/cheating their way to victory. The Dems played by the rules on this one. They were the ones being hacked. Maybe next time it’ll be the Republicans, or both. NO ONE, NO PARTY, NO AMERICAN, should accept this kind of interference in their elections. Ever. MEANWHILE… Let the audits and counting continue.

    • Roberta Richardson on November 21, 2016 at 8:08 am

      Because Trump was just saying it, before the election even happened, but now there is Actual Evidence.

    • Lisa on November 21, 2016 at 8:21 am

      Because he has a history of accusing people of his own misdeeds, including fraud and bribery. Everyone was scratching their heads trying to figure out why he was claiming the voting would be rigged. At the time I thought, “I wonder if he’s trying to rig the vote himself, because he only ever accuses Hilary of doing things he has done himself…” – but was then reassured by reports that this would be near impossible to do. But now, in hindsight, when you try to add up all the things that don’t add up: how *did* he win Florida, when the majority of votes had already been cast and Hilary had such a huge lead? Why did he keep claiming “rigged”, when it made him look like a delusional infant? Why is he so cosy with Putin, and the Russians hacking the DNC? And I guess, more basically, how could so many people possibly vote for a bigoted, misogynistic, corrupt businessman with a terrible record of bankruptcy, accusations of fraud, bribery, etc… He’s always claiming how intelligent he is – maybe he worked out how to tamper with the supposedly untamlerable election process. Especially if he has the might and hacking power of the Kremlin behind him.

    • Olga on November 21, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      He said it was rigged. He is president now. Shouldn’t we believe him?

  24. Marie on November 20, 2016 at 8:00 pm

    Trump’s election has blind-sided the nation! How could he possibly win the election with absolutely NO government background. The US has become the laughing stock of the entire world. I cannot believe with all the technology available, we cannot figure out what this idiot did to skew the figures to his benefit.

    • Calder on November 22, 2016 at 12:39 am

      Don’t worry, the FBI is investigating, and Mr. Comey will release the investigation results in 4-8 years.

    • AMDavis on November 22, 2016 at 3:36 pm

      We’ve been the laughing stock since Bush! We somehow preserved what little political standing we had in the world with Obama……now this……I find it hard to believe that we recover, but Im cynical at this point.

  25. Robin Levin on November 21, 2016 at 6:42 am

    Please take action! Investigate before it’s too late! He will have to forfeit the race to Hillary if it’s true!!
    I always believed it was rigged somehow by Trump! He said it and I believed him because he knew it would be!!

  26. Robin Levin on November 21, 2016 at 6:53 am

    I always felt that Trump had something up his sleeve! Having Russia hacks and Wikileaks then the FBI 11 days before the election!
    Either he won the biggest lottery on earth or he had every blue state turn Red at the end of each race!! Did it not look odd to you watching the horse race but your horse won every time!! It looked obvious to me!
    Why would he say it wouldn’t accept the results unless he wins!! Campaigning that our election is rigged! Only someone who knows it’s rigged!!!
    Here’s the issue! What can be done Now to see if the the ballots were programmed for a win! There must be an investigation!
    Trump already hired attorneys!!!!!
    Hillary should use her campaign money to ensure us that our votes counted by the electorate.

  27. jedbeetle on November 21, 2016 at 12:11 pm

    I’m not sure which is more terrifying – that so many would vote for Trump, or that Trump would win illegally and get away with it.

  28. Lynay Marthann Erickson on November 21, 2016 at 12:16 pm

    Why isn’t this being investigated?! Is everyone scared of Trump? This infuriates me.

  29. Barbara Ritchie on November 21, 2016 at 4:12 pm

    BUSH in 2000 wa a “Hanging-Chad Joke”–THIS comes as NO surprize WHATSOEVER! Trump is a F’ING CHEAT–but we ALL KNEW THAT–Why is ANYBODY surprized NOW???

  30. Carol on November 21, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    Living in a deep red county in Florida and we voted mail-in. Maybe they just tossed our ballots.

  31. Sandra Bernstein on November 21, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    Ok start working on it and get him out.

  32. Leila Kilgore on November 21, 2016 at 6:38 pm

    This makes so much sense! It’s haunted me since reading it last night. It’s wrong!

  33. mawcoffey on November 22, 2016 at 10:11 am

    Another cause for concern is the tampering that has taken place in Florida with vote-by-mail ballots being stolen from mailboxes and mailed in by others. This was reported in The Orlando Sentinel, where they found this out by a voter calling in to complain that he hadn’t received his ballot, only to be told that he had already voted. They were able to track down 5 similar cases in the same neighborhood, but this makes me wonder how many more ballots were manipulated this way that were not caught.

    Another sign of dirty tricks took place with the Democratic voter hotline being taken down on Election Day. This number was on all our flyers and was there to offer rides and answer questions for voters. Luckily, we got it back up after a few hours, but this was a very suspicious occurrence that I hope you will look into.

  34. Stacey Jones on November 22, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    Nothing like always the Repulblican party has stolen elections before and nothing was done about it why would it change now

  35. Sue on November 23, 2016 at 8:17 pm

    Look at St lucie and pinellas counties. Both heavy Democrat counties, won by Obama in 2008 and 2012, and both had over 15k more voters than 2012 and 2008 elections and these votes were for Trump. Records available on both county election sites. Yet almost all other Democrat candidates for senate etc won by good margins.

    • Lynn on November 25, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      Sarasota and Charlotte counties had some oddities, too — in Charlotte, Trump lost the vote count on election day, but won the absentee vote “overwhelmingly.” On the Monday before election day, the super of elections office had already counted close to 34,000 mail-in ballots and there was a line that day of voters turning in last-minute mail-in ballots at the office. Another peculiar thing — both Charlotte and Sarasota had record “turnouts” with over 75% of registered voters casting ballots. In Charlotte, more than 10,000 skipped voting on local issues (county charter, board of commissioners, judicial races, etc). In Sarasota, over 50,000 declined to vote on the small-potato items (according to the local newspapers). According to politico.com, there is no national database of voters since the states run their elections independently. In many states (Florida and Michigan, for example), senior citizens can register to vote without showing a photo ID. All they need is a utility bill or paystub with their name and address on it. Makes me wonder if some of the snowbirds (predominately white, wealthy, conservative condo-owners) are up to something.

  36. […] the early voting totals leaned so heavily in Clinton’s favor that it should have been all but mathematically impossible for Trump to have come back and won the state. And this is within the larger context of numerous […]

  37. Penny on November 26, 2016 at 12:15 am

    Is there anything we can do?

  38. Susan on November 27, 2016 at 8:19 am

    So I started writing down the total votes for Trump and Clinton at a point where Trump was winning but according to CNN most of the results were in exchept for Broward, Dade and Palm Beach. I did this to see if Hillary still had a chance because she was going to win those counties big and her votes from that point should have gone up by a larger percentage than Trumps. But as the rest of the votes came in Trump actually got a larger percent of the remaining votes. So either CNN (or Florida) was very off in their reporting on what percentage of the votes were already counted in “red” counties or there is definitely a problem. Because the numbers just don’t add up.

  39. Joyce holmes on December 6, 2016 at 11:18 am

    Recount recount. Do it now. Recount. This is an unfair election.

  40. John Thompson on June 24, 2017 at 10:27 am

    Why are the early voting election results available? In many states, the state provides the counts & results for early and the counts and results for election day. We wouldn’t have to guess using polls if we had these data. I can’t find them on the Division of Elections website. Sounds like it is time for a public information request.

Leave a Comment