President Donald Trump is alleging without evidence that voter fraud is a huge problem in California
WASHINGTON – There’s no proof to support President Donald Trump’s repeated claims of widespread voter fraud during the 2016 election, according to a member of the now-disbanded commission set up to examine abuse at the ballot box.
Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, who sat on the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, wrote Friday that a review of documents shows the panel’s evidence of voter fraud is “glaringly empty.”
Furthermore, Dunlap found the documents confirmed the commission’s “troubling bias” that assumed widespread fraud going into the review before any data had been collected.
The letter was addressed to Vice President Mike Pence, who chaired the commission, and vice-chair Kris Kobach, secretary of state for Kansas. Kobach who is running for governor, has often aired the president’s unproven claims of massive voter fraud.
Since the disputed 2000 election, numerous government and private investigations and reports have found no substantial amount of voter fraud. Trump, on the other hand, says 3 to 5 million illegal votes took place.
“As Secretary of State, I am deeply involved in election integrity issues,” Dunlap wrote. “Yet neither through my work, nor my time on the Commission, have I ever seen ‘substantial evidence of widespread voter fraud.’ Rather, these assertions appeared aimed at that pre-ordained objective: ratifying the President’s statements that millions of illegal votes were cast during the 2016 elections.”
Dunlap also posted the documents on his office’s website he had obtained from a court order after he had sued the commission for records and testimony it gathered during the six months it was operating.
The panel, which Trump established by executive order last year, faced headwinds from the start.
Civil rights groups decried it as a sham designed to legitimize the president’s narrative that he really won the popular vote and encourage states to make voting hard, especially for African-Americans, Hispanics and poor people.
Many state and local elections officials, including some Republicans, refused to hand over citing privacy concerns and a lack of voting abuses.
The commission suffered from infighting as some members, including Dunlap, felt they were being shut out of certain deliberations because of their skepticism.
In January, Trump signed an executive order disbanding the election integrity commission, saying he didn’t want to waste taxpayer money fighting with state governments over their voter data.
Trump said the commission’s work will now go to the Department of Homeland Security.
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