There is no evidence that millions of people voted illegally in November’s presidential election, depriving Donald Trump of a popular-vote win over his opponent, Hillary Clinton. But that’s exactly what Trump contends. And now a new commission, created by a Trump executive order, is tasked with investigating the issue. The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity hasn’t begun its work, and the 15 members of the panel, headed by Vice President Mike Pence, are still being appointed. But its existence has taken to the extreme what was already a volatile, fiercely partisan issue: voter fraud. Few in Washington, outside Trump’s official spokespeople, agree with the president’s assertion that “millions” voted illegally in the 2016 election. Trump’s lawyers have said that “all available evidence suggests the 2016 general election was not tainted by fraud or mistake.”
But long before Trump’s statement, the issue divided Washington. Many Republicans believe voter fraud is common enough, especially at the local level, to threaten the integrity of U.S. elections. In the Democrats’ view, Republicans are exaggerating the problem to push for new laws that they say will, in effect, help Republicans at the polls.
A large number of Democrats have rejected Trump’s commission out of hand, saying there’s no way to separate the commission’s work from Trump’s unsubstantiated claim about illegal voters.
“A commission in search of a problem,” is how Senator Amy Klobuchar, a Minnesota Democrat, described it this week. “This has been completely contrived from the start,” said Senator Dick Durbin, an Illinois Democrat. The whole reason the commission exists, Durbin added, is so Trump’s “hair-on-fire conspiracy theories” can be vindicated.
Full Article: Work of Trump’s Voter Fraud Panel Inflames Partisan Divide.