Trump creates panel to investigate voter fraud

A polling station in Virginia during the state's primary election in March 2016

U.S. President Donald Trump is set Thursday to create a commission on voter fraud and voter suppression, a move that follows his unsubstantiated claim that millions of people voted illegally past year, costing him a win in the popular vote.

Days after assuming office, the president vowed a major investigation into the millions of "illegal" votes he claimed cost him the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, who topped him by almost 3 million votes.

More than three months after President Trump vowed to investigate unfounded claims that last November's election was tainted by millions of fraudulent votes, the White House is expected to announce the creation of a presidential commission to investigate voter fraud, a Trump administration official tells NPR.

Presidential spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says the commission will study issues that affect the confidence of Americans in the election system.

The White House said the president's "Advisory Commission on Election Integrity" would examine allegations of improper voting and fraudulent voter registration in states and across the nation. And Trump has appointed as vice chairman of this commission the Kansas secretary of state, Kris Kobach, who has made the same wild claims and sought to impose some of the toughest voter ID laws in the country. "I don't believe I got one", he said in January.

Voting rights activists are concerned that the commission will be used to justify more state legislation to impose restrictions on voting, such as strict identification requirements.

State election officials across the USA have disputed his claim.

Kobach has been the driving force behind a Kansas law requiring new voters to produce a passport, a birth certificate or naturalization papers as proof of citizenship or be denied the ability to cast ballots. And liberal voting rights groups are very anxious that this commission, especially with Kobach on it, is going to be used to justify Republican efforts to pass strict voter I.D. laws.

The Vice Chair of Donald Trump's new "election integrity" commission has been successfully sued four times for voter suppression, according to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

So what this order does is something that's never really been done before and that is establishing national nationwide entity to collect data on the issue of voter fraud and election integrity. "And I fear that it will serve as pretext for the administration's efforts to roll back the voting rights so many fought so hard to obtain".

Apart from Mr. Pence and Mr. Kobach, five other members to this bipartisan commission are Connie Lawson, Secretary of State of Indiana; Bill Gardner, Secretary of State of New Hampshire; Matthew Dunlap, Secretary of State of Maine; Ken Blackwell, Former Secretary of State of OH and Christy McCormick, Commissioner, Election Assistance Commission.

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