No sooner had the ink dried from President Donald J. Trump’s signature Thursday on an executive order establishing a commission to examine voter fraud and voter suppression, that civil rights organizations blasted the effort as nothing but an effort to further restrict the access to vote to Latinos, poor Americans and other minorities.
Trump – who has boasted he would have won the popular vote last November had it not been for about 3 million votes by undocumented residents – appointed Vice President Mike Pence as commission chair and controversial, former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as vice chair.
“The commission will review policies and practices that enhance or undermine the American people’s confidence in the integrity of federal elections – including improper registrations, improper voting, fraudulent registrations, fraudulent voting and voting suppression,” said the White House in a statement.
Weeks after the election, Trump tweeted that “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.”
Voting experts, including those in charge of the voting process, said there is no evidence of widespread voting fraud. Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by 3 million votes.
Claiming that our electoral system has an integrity problem and appointing Kris Kobach to co-chair a commission to solve a made-up problem is a cruel joke to those of us who work everyday to ensure that the right to vote is accessible to all who are eligible.
Ben Monterroso, Mi Familia Vota executive director
Those allegations, said Arturo Vargas, are dangerous.
“The creation of an Election Fraud Commission and unfounded suggestions by President Trump that there were millions of illegal votes in November is a dangerous attack on our democracy and voting systems,” said Vargas, executive director of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) Foundation.
“The biggest challenge facing our democracy right now is not voter fraud, but rather that too few Americans are able and willing to exercise their right to vote as yesterday’s report by the U.S. Census Bureau confirmed,” added Vargas.
“We must have election procedures that strike a balance between making voting more accessible to every citizen while also ensuring the necessary checks are in place to maintain the confidence of the American people in the soundness of the results.”
The Census reported that the voting rate by Latinos in 2016 (47.6) dropped below those of the 2012 (48) and 2008 (49.9) presidential elections.
Vargas said the country needs to focus on “making the electoral system more accessible.” He said eligible Latino voters continue to encounter “significant barriers” in exercising their voting rights.
Some states, like Kansas, have implemented more stringent requirements for voter registration that voting experts say disproportionately impact poor and minority voters.
Illinois Rep. Luis Gutiérrez blasted Kobach’s inclusion as part of the commission.
“He is an enemy of American democracy who acts as if he believes that too many American citizens vote and that something must be done to stop them,” said Gutiérrez of Kobach.
“I can think of no American less qualified for a position on any federal commission, let alone one about voting, than Kris Kobach. He is the architect of voter suppression policies and state and local anti-immigrant laws that have mostly resulted in lawsuits, injunctions and reversals, costing states and localities both in terms of money and reputation.”
Ben Monterroso, executive director of Mi Familia Vota, said appointing Kobach to the commission is the wrong approach to making sure the country’s voting system is fair and accessible.
“Claiming that our electoral system has an integrity problem and appointing Kris Kobach to co-chair a commission to solve a made-up problem is a cruel joke to those of us who work everyday to ensure that the right to vote is accessible to all who are eligible,” said Monterroso.
“The truth is our electoral system could use some help in the form of making sure that barriers to voting don’t keep eligible voters from participating.”
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called the commission “voter suppression effort in disguise.”
“Putting an extremist like Mr. Kobach at the helm of this commission is akin to putting an arsonist in charge of the fire department,” said Schumer. “Rather than investigate the numerous egregious instances of voter suppression in places like North Carolina, Texas, and Wisconsin, President Trump has decided to waste taxpayer dollars chasing a unicorn and perpetuating the dangerous myth that widespread voter fraud exists.
“Many experts and members of both political parties have repeatedly debunked the Trump Administration’s claims of voter fraud in the 2016 election – it’s time to focus on addressing the real problems facing this country and working in bipartisan fashion to improve the lives of all Americans.”
Trump firma orden que crea comisión para investigar supuesto fraude electoral
El presidente, Donald Trump, firmó hoy una orden ejecutiva para crear una comisión asesora sobre la “integridad” del sistema electoral, que investigará, entre otras cosas, sus denuncias sin pruebas sobre el supuesto fraude cometido en los comicios del pasado noviembre.
La comisión estará encabezada por el vicepresidente, Mike Pence, y presentará su informe con conclusiones durante 2018, según detalló al comienzo de su rueda de prensa diaria la portavoz adjunta de la Casa Blanca, Sarah Sanders.
No hubo ningún acto formal ni imágenes de Trump firmando la orden, cuyo texto fue publicado por la Casa Blanca.
Tras imponerse en los comicios presidenciales de noviembre pasado frente a su rival demócrata, Hillary Clinton, Trump denunció en varias ocasiones que hubo fraude electoral.
Trump ganó a Clinton en el sistema del colegio electoral por 304 votos frente a 232, pero la demócrata logró cerca de tres millones de votos populares más que el ahora presidente.
El mandatario llegó a decir en enero que en las elecciones de noviembre votaron de 3 a 5 millones de inmigrantes indocumentados, razón por la que, a su juicio, la ex secretaria de Estado ganó en voto popular.
Pero ni Trump ni la Casa Blanca han ofrecido ninguna evidencia para respaldar esas afirmaciones ni las denuncias de un supuesto fraude electoral, que los expertos consideran completamente infundadas.
El pasado 26 de enero, la Casa Blanca adelantó que Trump iba a firmar ese mismo día una orden para investigar ese supuesto fraude electoral, pero finalmente se aplazó esa medida sin dar explicaciones.