Trump’s Voting Investigation Is A Great Idea


Publish Date:
January 25, 2017
  • Hasen, Richard L.
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President Donald Trump on Wednesday called for a “major investigation” into voter fraud. While his tweets announcing the call focus on the possibility of double voting and voter registration fraud, the main claim of fraud Trump has made over the past few months is that 3 million to 5 million illegal voters cast ballots in the election, which is his explanation for Hillary Clinton’s popular vote victory.

The claim that there were millions of illegal voters in this past election is false and unsupported by any credible evidence. The National Association of Secretaries of State, made up of the chief election officers of all 50 states, just issued a statement saying so. (Here is an explanation of Trump’s apparent justification for making the claim.) Trump’s own lawyers told a court in connection with Jill Stein’s request for a Michigan recount that “all available evidence suggests that the 2016 general election was not tainted by fraud or mistake.”

Second, the commission should have professional staff with experience dealing with election administration aimed at searching for the truth through an examination of credible evidence. The Bauer-Ginsberg commission’s research director was Nate Persily, a Stanford law and political science professor who is known for his careful and even-handed research. Back in 2000 there were few political scientists and law professors studying the details of election administration. Now there are many and a large set of peer-reviewed studies on these issues, including questions of voter fraud. There are plenty of ways to try to examine these issues, and the precise claim of President Trump that 3 million to 5 million votes could have been cast illegally in a massive conspiracy without detection should be probed in a fair and scientific way.

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