The man Donald Trump appointed Thursday to be vice chair of a commission to investigate voter fraud repeatedly backed Trump's unfounded charge that millions voted illegally in the 2016 election.
There's simply no evidence of widespread voter fraud in this country.
"The rationale for this commission was articulated in a baseless tweet from the president that claimed millions of illegal votes were cast", Secretary of the State Denise Merrill said in a written statement.
"The commission will review policies and practices that enhance or undermine the American people's confidence in the integrity of federal elections - including improper registrations, improper voting, fraudulent registrations, fraudulent vote and voting suppression", the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity. I have learned the hard way by covering elections that often there are claims that make it sound like we have finally stumbled on a giant voter fraud story, but then it doesn't pan out that way.
The President first raised the issue of voter fraud in a tweet late November after former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton emerged with almost 3 million more popular votes.
Even before it was formally announced, news of the commission's launch met with a cascade of criticism from voting-rights and other organizations.
A senior Trump administration official told CNN on Thursday the effort will be bipartisan and include current and former state election officials.
The secretary of state championed Kansas' proof-of-citizenship requirement as an anti-fraud measure that keeps noncitizens from voting, including immigrants living in the US illegally.
Remember, this was around the time Trump praised the now fired Comey for launching an investigation into Clinton's emails. "They didn't vote for me", Trump said in an interview with ABC News that aired January 25.
"Kris Kobach being named to run a commission on "voter integrity" is like naming Bernie Madoff to run a commission on financial crimes", Frank Sharry, the founder and executive director of America's Voice, an immigrant group, said in a statement.
The commission is expected also to be charged with looking into other irregularities and problems in the voting process, including duplicate and outdated voter registrations.
Made up of Democrats and Republicans, the commission is to be called the "Presidential Commission on Election Integrity". In that interview, he also cited millions of "people who are dead who are registered" and voting, as well as millions more registered to vote in multiple states.
"The president is committed to the thorough review of registration and voting issues in federal elections and that's exactly what this commission is tasked with doing", Sanders said.
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