Voting rights advocates are furious at President-elect Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread voter fraud and concerned that his administration will more vigorously adopt measures that will make it harder for some groups of people to vote. Some state and local election officials in recent years have cited the potential for voter fraud as the reason for enacting strict voter ID laws, requiring additional verification for people who want to register to vote and conducting mass voter purges. Trump’s promotion of the widely debunked notion of rampant voter fraud and the presence in his inner circle of political leaders who supported stricter voting laws send a troubling signal, say advocates who have spent the past several years fighting what they say are efforts to disenfranchise minorities, young, elderly and low-income voters. “They don’t want us to participate in this democracy,” said Cristóbal J. Alex, president of the Latino Victory Project. “We are gearing up for what will be the biggest fight of our lifetime.”
In the weeks leading up to the Nov. 8 election, Trump often claimed that the election would be “rigged” and urged his supporters to monitor polling places in “certain areas.” Trump was elected president by racking up the most electoral votes, but Democrat Hillary Clinton’s lead in the popular vote has continued to grow. That prompted the president-elect to fire off a series of tweets on Sunday pushing a baseless allegation that Clinton won the popular vote because of “millions of people who voted illegally.” He specifically cited, without providing evidence, irregularities that he said took place in California, New Hampshire and Ohio.
Referring to that most recent comment, Sen. Bernie Sanders (Vt.), who during his presidential campaign often accused Republicans of engaging in voter suppression, said: “When you’ve got this delusional, crazy tweet from the president-elect, you are sending a signal to the entire administration that their goal is to go forward and suppress the vote.”