Just a few weeks after his election day victory, then-President Elect Donald Trump turned a few heads by posting that he won not only the electoral college, but also the popular vote if you “deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”
In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 27, 2016
It seemed like an irrelevant point to make. Not only had he already won, there was no evidence to suggest voter fraud on the scale Trump alleged. In fact, by the end of November, only four cases of voter fraud had been documented in the 2016 election. Of course, that doesn’t mean that there were only four cases of voter fraud. As The Federalist’s John Gibbs puts it “does the fact that 109 people were cited for jaywalking in Seattle in 2009 mean that only 109 people jaywalked in Seattle that year? Does the fact that 103,733 people were cited for driving without a seat-belt in Tennessee in 2015 mean that only that many people were driving without seatbelt in Tennessee in 2015? Obviously not.”
There’s a possibility for voter fraud — but not much evidence for it yet. Trump must think that he’s going to be the one to uncover it, because as The Hill just reported:President Trump will sign an executive order Thursday to start an investigation into voter fraud.
Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will be named chair and vice chair, respectively, of the “Presidential Commission on Election Integrity,” the report said. The commission will be announced later Thursday.
Lawmakers from both parties will be included in the commission, and they will review “vulnerabilities” in U.S. voting systems, as well as any possible cases of “improper voting, fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting,” ABC reported.The commission will be charged with reviewing Trump’s allegations of mass voter fraud in the 2016 election as well as “systemic issues that have been raised over many years in terms of the integrity of the elections.”
Voter suppression will also be an issue taken up by the commission to draw Democrats to join the effort. The commission would be expected to present its results sometime in 2018.“You can never really find, you know, there are going to be — no matter what numbers we come up with there are going to be lots of people that did things that we’re not going to find out about,” Trump said in January after taking office. “But we will find out because we need a better system where that can’t happen.”
Such an investigation is a huge gamble, as it is extremely unlikely to turn up examples of voter fraud in the millions. It will, however, end up quantifying the problem once and for all, and provide evidence as to how vulnerable our system is to voter fraud in general.