President Donald Trump wants to potentially spend tens of millions of taxpayer dollars to examine a problem that’s been proven over and over not to exist: systemic voter fraud. Trump, in tweets Wednesday, announced that he’ll seek a “major investigation” into voter fraud, echoing his unsubstantiated claim that some 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally in November’s election, helping to propel Democrat Hillary Clinton to a big popular-vote advantage. The president’s fraud claim is emphatically rebuffed by the nation’s secretaries of states, who monitor elections, as well as reams of government and academic studies that say that occurrences of voter fraud are infinitesimal. “We are not aware of any evidence that supports the voter fraud claims made by President Trump,” the National Association of Secretaries of State said in a statement Tuesday. “In the lead-up to the November 2016 election, secretaries of state expressed their confidence in the systemic integrity of our election process as a bipartisan group, and they stand behind that statement today.” Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, felt compelled to do a tweet of his own challenging Trump’s assertion. “We conducted a review 4 years ago in Ohio & already have a statewide review of 2016 election underway. Easy to vote, hard to cheat,” he tweeted. Apparently, even Trump’s lawyers don’t believe voter fraud was a problem in the 2016 election. His lawyers objected in a court filing to Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s Michigan recount petition last year, Business Insider reported Wednesday. “On what basis does Stein seek to disenfranchise Michigan citizens?” the filing said. “None really, save for speculation. All available evidence suggests that the 2016 general election was not tainted by fraud or mistake.”
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told reporters at the congressional Republican retreat in Philadelphia that “I don’t see any evidence” of voter fraud. “If he wants to do an investigation, have at it,” said Chaffetz, R-Utah. “That’s his decision to make.” Asked if his committee would conduct its own voter fraud probe, Chaffetz responded “it’s not something worth pursuing.”
Richard Hasen, a University of California Irvine law professor who’s the author of “The Voting Wars,” said Trump’s election-fraud tweets were “par for the course” for the new president. “The facts don’t really matter. Once the president gets an idea in his head, he’ll run with it,” Hasen said. “There hasn’t been any credible evidence of millions or thousands or hundreds of people voting illegally, and people have been looking for it.”
There have been scores of voter fraud reports. For example, President George W. Bush’s administration had a five-year probe that turned up no evidence of widespread organized voter fraud. A 2007 report by New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice placed the rate of proven voter fraud between 0.00004 percent and 0.0009 percent.