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The Voter Participation Center today called on President Trump to get his facts straight and end his deceptive campaign on alleged voter fraud. In a series of tweets and statements, Trump has claimed with no evidence that millions of votes were cast illegally in the presidential election and that he will be asking for a “major investigation” into voter fraud.
“Study after study has shown that voter fraud occurs in only the rarest of cases in American elections,” said Page Gardner, President and Founder of the Voter Participation Center. “Even though President Trump’s own lawyers concluded that the 2016 election was ‘not tainted by fraud,’ Trump continues to pursue this debunked conspiracy theory. Instead of using fear tactics about voting improprieties, he should spend his time protecting voting rights and making voting and voter registration easier for Americans.”
Gardner fears that President Trump will attempt to use trumped-up voter fraud allegations to further weaken the protections of the Voting Rights Act and escalate ongoing nationwide efforts to make it harder for people of color to vote.
“As the New York Times recently reported, federal prosecutors have charged more people with violating migratory bird laws than voting statutes,” Gardner said. “We need to make voting easier for people of color, and all Americans, and not get distracted by phony controversies that serve to undermine our democracy.”
Trump’s inner circle of voting-fraud advisers should give the nation pause. He’s tweeted support for a man the New York Times has labelled “a conspiracy theorist” on voter issues. He’s taking advice from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has championed laws restricting voting. And if Trump asks the Justice Department to investigate voter fraud, he likely will be turning over the matter to Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions, whose own record on voting rights is deeply troubling.
While voting restrictions are real, widespread voter fraud is not. That’s why the bipartisan National Association of Secretaries of State recently declared that it is “not aware of any evidence that supports the voter fraud claims made by President Trump.”
In its 12-year history, the Voter Participation Center has helped more than 3.5 million people register to vote. Along the way, VPC has learned that voter rolls are imperfect, often containing outdated information. But an inaccurate voter roll is not evidence of voter fraud.
“President Trump’s own relatives and top advisers are registered to vote in multiple states. That’s not evidence of fraud. American voters frequently move, and die, and voter rolls are not updated quickly enough. But let’s not confuse outdated lists with criminality.”