POLITICS

Trump Pushes Voter ID Laws, Lambastes Democrats After Disbanding Voter Fraud Panel

The commission was criticized for perpetuating Trump's unfounded claim of widespread voter fraud.

President Donald Trump on Thursday pushed stronger voter identification laws, the day after disbanding his commission on voter fraud.

On Twitter, Trump reiterated frustration with certain states for not handing over information to the commission he formed to investigate his unfounded claims of voter fraud, and blamed the “rigged system” on Democrats.

The White House suddenly announced Trump’s commission would be disbanded on Wednesday, though Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), the panel’s vice chair, said last week that it would meet in January. 

“Despite substantial evidence of voter fraud, many states have refused to provide the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity with basic information relevant to its inquiry,” the White House said in a statement. “Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today I signed an executive order to dissolve the Commission, and have asked the Department of Homeland Security to review these issues and determine next courses of action.”

Trump created the commission in May, after repeated complaints that voter fraud tainted the 2016 election and caused him to lose the popular vote to Hillary Clinton. He failed to produce any evidence to back his claim.

Kobach sent all 50 states a letter requesting voters’ personal information, including birth dates, felony conviction records, military status, voting histories and the last four digits of Social Security numbers. Much of this information couldn’t legally be disclosed, and more than 20 states to refused to comply.

Even Kobach admitted that his state legally wasn’t able to turn over some of the requested data.

“In Kansas, the Social Security number is not publicly available,” he said in June. “Every state receives the same letter, but we’re not asking for it if it’s not publicly available.” 

Even if the panel had continued apace, there’s little evidence that voter fraud is widespread, or that voter identification laws control fraudulent activity in the first place. 

Research has shown that voter fraud is rare, and critics maintained that Trump’s commission was a mechanism to enhance voter suppression.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, most reported incidents of voter fraud are a result of clerical errors or bad data-matching practices. A February Washington Post study could find no evidence of voter fraud in New Hampshire, despite Trump claiming that Massachusetts voters had been bused into the state to vote illegally.

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