May 11, 2017 – According to news reports, President Trump is expected to sign an executive order today that will create a “Presidential Commission on Election Integrity.” Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach are reported to be Chair and Vice Chair. The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law released the following statements in response:
“This commission is a sham and distraction,” said Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center. “It’s simply an effort to try and find proof of the president’s absurd claim that 3-5 million people voted illegally in November. It tries to pivot from the fact that this week Trump fired the chief law enforcement officer in charge of probing whether his advisors colluded with Russia to influence our elections. He fired the person investigating a real threat to election integrity, and set up a probe of an imaginary threat.”
“This commission is not a credible effort to improve our elections or their integrity,” said Wendy Weiser, director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “The timing of its announcement is suspicious. It is not independent of the White House that has been making false claims of widespread fraud. With a Republican chair and vice chair, it is not bipartisan. And several officials reportedly being considered for it are some of the most controversial and well-known advocates of voting restrictions in the country.”
“The predicate of this commission, the claims that millions voted improperly in the 2016 election, is simply false,” said Myrna Pérez, deputy director of the Democracy Program. “All studies, including our own, have shown that voter fraud is vanishingly rare. And, the myth of voter fraud has been the justification for restrictive voting laws for years, serving to roll back access to our democracy for people all across the country.”
The commission’s vice chair will purportedly be Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has little credibility as an impartial investigator of election integrity. He’s a known promoter of efforts to restrict voting and one of the nation’s primary peddlers of the myth of voter fraud.
Brennan Center released a report last week analyzing information from local election administrators in jurisdictions with the highest populations of noncitizens, and its findings counter Trump’s claims. Of the 23.5 million votes tabulated in the areas surveyed, election officials referred an estimated 30 incidents of suspected noncitizen voting for further prosecution or investigation, representing 0.0001 percent of the votes cast.
Members of Trump’s own party have refuted his claims about fraud. And every academic and journalistic investigation confirms fraud by voters at the polls is exceedingly rare. Click here to visit the Brennan Center’s resource page on the myth of voter fraud. And click here to visit the Brennan Center’s resources on recent voting restrictions across the country.
The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law is a nonpartisan law and policy institute that seeks to improve our systems of democracy and justice. We work to hold our political institutions and laws accountable to the twin American ideals of democracy and equal justice for all. www.brennancenter.org