Trump creates panel to investigate voter fraud

Posted May 13, 2017

When the White House said a few months ago that it would be forming a commission to investigate voter fraud, some laughed. And instead of convening an unnecessary commission on "election integrity", Washington should immediately act to restore the Voting Rights Act and the critical protections it provides. It will supposedly be led by Vice President Mike Pence (chair) and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (vice chair).

Democrats have long accused Republicans of trying to suppress turnout among minority and low-income voters, sometimes by erecting barriers - like requiring identity cards for voting - and sometimes by intimidation.

The panel will aim to ensure confidence in the integrity of federal elections while looking at vulnerabilities in the system and the possibility of improper voting and fraudulent voter registration and voting, officials said. The Republican won the White House through victory in the Electoral College, which tallies wins in states, but lost the popular vote to Democratic rival Hillary Clinton by some 3 million ballots. At least three additional secretaries of state are expected to be involved, Bill Gardner of New Hampshire, Connie Lawson of IN and Matthew Dunlap of Maine. Trump won the presidency with an Electoral College victory even though Clinton received almost 3 million more votes.

Voting experts and many lawmakers have said they haven't seen anything to suggest that millions of people voted illegally, including House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz.

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Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice, called the commission "a sham and distraction", alleging that the announcement was an attempt by Trump "to pivot" from his firing this week of FBI Director James B. Comey.

Trump, who took office in January, has said that there was widespread voter fraud in the November election.

Good government groups and public officials across the country are slamming the panel, formed through an executive order, as a weird and nefarious attempt to root out pervasive voter fraud that has not been proven to exist.

Trump had previously identified Pence as the person to oversee the commission. Kobach has long claimed that there's widespread illegal voting by noncitizens in the US, despite the lack of evidence.