Politics

Trump To Launch Investigation Into Voter Fraud

Others speculated about the timing of the executive order, arguing that it represented a “distraction” from the recent firing of FBI director James Comey and ongoing federal investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

President Donald Trump is expected to follow through on a promise to investigate voter fraud in U.S. elections on Thursday, signing an executive order that will establish a commission on "election integrity."

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Details of the executive order have not be released, but officials told multiple news agencies that Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will chair the commission, which will also recruit members from both parties.

The commission will dig into federal and state elections in an attempt to uncover incidents of "improper voting, fraudulent voter registrations, and fraudulent voting," one official told ABC News. This comes months after the president alleged that he had knowledge of widespread voter fraud — a claim that has been debunked by researchers, state election officials, and media organizations.

Trump told members of Congress in January that there was evidence of 3 to 5 million illegal votes in the 2016 presidential election. He also pledged to launch an investigation into voter fraud on Twitter shortly after taking office.

Some speculated about the timing of the executive order, arguing that it represented a “distraction” from the recent firing of FBI director James Comey and ongoing federal investigations into Russian interference in the 2016 election.

But Igor Volsky, deputy director of the Center for American Progress Action, raised a different possibility. He said that the executive order could be used to justify voter suppression laws in a tweet thread on Thursday.

Erika Wilson, an assistant professor at the University of North Carolina Law School who also served as an election protection volunteer in the state, wrote an editorial for The Washington Post in January about how voter fraud allegations were used to enact laws that suppressed black voters. She said Trump's rhetoric about voter fraud "cannot be taken lightly."

"A national investigation may spur more states to enact restrictive voting legislation, and this time, the Justice Department won’t intervene to protect against those efforts," Wilson wrote. "Finally, the Trump administration, with the assistance of Congress, could also use the national investigation as a basis to enact restrictive voting laws governing federal elections."