Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed that he would have won the popular vote had it not been for widespread voter fraud.
This week, he announced the creation of a bipartisan commission that will be tasked with determining the level of voter fraud in the 2016 election.
“This action by president Trump fulfills another promise made to the American people,” said Vice President Mike Pence, who will chair the commission. “We can’t take for granted the integrity of the vote.”
The commission will be investigating “all of the voting irregularities that affect the integrity of our election,” said Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach, who will serve as the commission’s vice chair.
“People have their different opinions about whether this is big enough to be considered a problem, how big a problem is it. But oftentimes they don’t have a whole lot of data to work with. This commission will provide that data,” Kobach told the Washington Times.
The commission will take advantage of state and federal databases to determine the scope of fraudulent voting. “The federal government has a database of every known alien who has a green card or a temporary visa,” explains Kobach. But until now, states have not been allowed to compare voter roles against that database to see if any of those names match up.
“The integrity and the fairness of our elections…is at the very foundation of our republic. If we don’t have fair elections, how can we as a country have confidence in our system?” asks Kobach. “How can you have loyal opposition? How can I as an elected official be confident that I really won the election or really lost the election?”
According to White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee-Sanders, the committee’s report will be finished by 2018.
Trump lost the popular vote by 3 million. Democrats and liberal voting rights advocates argue that voter fraud cannot exist on such a massive scale.
Charles Schumer (D-NY) calls Kobach an extremist, and compares putting him in charge to “putting an arsonist in charge of the fire department.”
“President Trump has decided to waste taxpayer dollars chasing a unicorn and perpetuating the dangerous myth that widespread voter fraud exists,” argues Schumer.
The American Civil Liberties Union worries the executive order will strip voting rights from some Americans and has demanded proof of the fraud Trump has been referencing. ACLU project director Dale Ho calls Kobach “the king of voter suppression.”