Donald Trump to launch panel to investigate voter fraud

President Donald Trump followed through on a pledge to set up a federal panel to "promote fair and honest Federal elections", as backers praised his efforts to rein in voter fraud, while Democratic Party critics said it was nothing more than an effort at voter suppression.

Vice President Mike Pence has been named the chairman of the commission and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as the vice-chair.

The commission will also identify "vulnerabilities in voting systems and practices used for federal elections that could lead to improper voter registration and improper voting", it said. Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson will also be on the commission, as will New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, a Democrat, and Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, a Democrat. And although it's a bipartisan commission, the vice chair is going to be a Republican in Kansas, Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

The voter fraud commission is expected to have its first meeting this summer and will be expected to submit its findings in a report in 2018.

"This voter commission is a clear front for constricting the access to vote to poor Americans, and - above all - African Americans and Latinos", Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer, of NY, said in a statement. He has clashed repeatedly with voting rights groups and is now stuck in a contentious court battle with the American Civil Liberties Union, which filed a lawsuit claiming his office sought to turn back Kansas voters in violation the National Voter Registration Act.

The White House is attempting to bury this Commission at a time when the nation and Congress are consumed with this administration's own Russian Federation scandal.

Trump has asserted he would have won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election had it not been for illegal votes cast. The text of the order focuses on the issue of voter fraud.

More recently, Kobach has focused his attention on combating voter fraud by making it harder to register to vote and by prosecuting alleged instances of voter fraud.

"President Trump is trying to create a distraction from actual threats to our democracy, such as ongoing voter suppression and Russia's interference in the 2016 election", said Kristen Clarke of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights.

Since the non-problem of in-person voter fraud - Kobach has convicted all of nine Kansans of this crime - is inflated to push through laws that disenfranchise, this whole commission isn't just unnecessary but wrong.

In defending his claim, for which the White House has yet to provide documentation, the president announced that he would issue an executive order related to voter fraud, and Pence told Republicans that the administration would "initiate a full evaluation of voting rolls". Across 42 jurisdictions, election officials who oversaw the tabulation of 23.5 million votes in the 2016 general election referred only an estimated 30 incidents of suspected noncitizen voting for further investigation or prosecution.

  • Leroy Wright