Trump's voter fraud commission 'the most bizarre thing I’ve ever been a part of', senior official says

'We had more transparency on a deer task force than I had on a presidential commission,' Matthew Dunlap says

Emily Shugerman
New York
@eshugerman
Saturday 04 August 2018 20:48
comments
People cast their votes for US president November 8, 2016, at Centerville High School, in Centreville, Virginia
People cast their votes for US president November 8, 2016, at Centerville High School, in Centreville, Virginia

A senior member of Donald Trump’s now closed voter fraud commission has called it “the most bizarre thing I’ve ever been a part of".

The US leader established the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in a May 2017 executive order, with the claim it would “promote fair and honest Federal elections”.

It was shut down in January, after just two meetings, having faced numerous lawsuits over its requests for voter information.

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, one of four Democrats on the 11-member commission, said it never found evidence of the “widespread election fraud” that Mr Trump claims occurred in the 2016 presidential election.

“Neither through my work [as secretary of state], nor my time in the commission have I seen ‘substantial evidence of voter fraud’,” Mr Dunlap wrote in a letter to Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who led the commission.

“Rather, these assertions appeared aimed at that pre-ordained objective: ratifying the President's statements that millions of illegal votes were cast in during the 2016 elections."

White House's Stephen Miller confronted on lack of evidence for mass voter fraud

Mr Trump has repeatedly claimed that he would have won the popular vote in 2016 were it not for the “millions of people who voted illegally" – although this has never been proven.

Even after the commission was shut down, the White House maintained that there was "substantial evidence of voter fraud" without offering any evidence to substantiate the claim.

Mr Dunlap said these were just some of many false statements that Mr Koback and the White House had made about the existence of voter fraud.

Despite operating with a “troubling bias,” he wrote, the commission never found any evidence that voter fraud was a widespread issue.

As proof, he pointed to a draft report intended to be issued by the commission, in which sections on evidence of voter fraud were left “glaringly empty”.

“You throw out a bunch of numbers about supposed voter fraud and it becomes the Halloween ghost story that keeps getting repeated,” Mr Dunlap told the Washington Post. “But nobody can really point to it.”

Respnoding to the claim, Mr Kobach claimed Mr Dunlap was "willfully blind to the voter fraud in front of his nose".

In a statement to The Independent, he said the commission has been presented with 1,000 convictions for voter fraud since 2000, as well as approximately 8,400 instances of double voting in the 2016 election in 20 states alone.

"For some people, no matter how many cases of voter fraud you show them, there will never be enough for them to admit that there’s a problem," he said.

Mr Dunlap's letter was based on approximately 8,000 documents related to the group’s work that he obtained by suing for access in November.

Despite Mr Dunlap's membership in the panel, the Trump administration only agreed to hand them over in June, after being ordered to do so by a federal judge, .

“We had more transparency on a deer task force than I had on a presidential commission,” Mr Dunlap told the Post.

The White House had not responded to The Independent’s requests for comment at the time of publication.

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