President Trump’s False Claims About Voter Fraud Are a Direct Threat to Voting Rights and Our Democracy
Trump Administration Lays Groundwork to Silence Minorities, Elderly, Youth in Future ElectionsWASHINGTON – This morning, President Donald Trump called for a “major investigation” into potential voter fraud, alleging that millions of undocumented immigrants voted in the 2016 election, and that ballots were cast on behalf of the deceased.
“Donald Trump’s claims have been repeatedly debunked and are contrary to the evidence, which conclusively shows there is no widespread voter fraud,” said Gerry Hebert, director of voting rights and redistricting at the Campaign Legal Center. “President Trump, in making these false and irresponsible statements – and by nominating Jeff Sessions to lead the Department of Justice in an era where we do not have the full protections of the Voting Rights Act – is launching an all-out assault on voting rights. Given Mr. Sessions’s history of using voter fraud prosecutions as a form of voter suppression, Donald Trump’s announcement of this ‘investigation’ rings serious alarm bells.”
“Americans should be warned,” said Danielle Lang, deputy director of voting rights for the Campaign Legal Center. “This is not just about Donald Trump’s scorned ego for losing the popular vote. These statements are laying the groundwork for a legislative agenda meant to secure future elections through voter suppression, even though several federal courts have found these tactics to be discriminatory for targeting the poor, minority or disabled voters. These voices will be silenced if we allow Trump and his administration to engage in this voting rights witch hunt.”
Donald Trump insinuates that outdated voter registration rolls are indicative of fraud. They are not, as the author of the study he relies on has made clear. Multiple studies have shown that there is virtually no evidence of voter impersonation fraud, indicating no need for strict voter ID laws or laws that make it harder, not easier to vote.
These studies have been conducted on both sides of the political aisle. A Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) study showed that between the years 2000 and 2010, 21 states had only one or two convictions for some form of voter irregularity. A 2014 comprehensive study by the Brennan Center for Justice found there were only 31 credible allegations of fraud in over 1 billion votes cast.
This lack of evidence is not for lack of investigation. In an attempt to justify voter suppression laws, states have repeatedly sought to investigate voter fraud and have attempted put forward evidence to support their claims. Yet every court to address this issue has found that there is no credible evidence of widespread fraud. During the George W. Bush administration, the Department of Justice launched a major campaign to investigate and prosecute voter fraud and came up empty handed.