MADISON, Wis. - During his campaign, President Donald Trump repeatedly alleged massive and widespread voter fraud in the U.S. election system. After his election, he claimed this voter fraud kept him from winning the popular vote. Now, the president has signed an executive order creating a federal commission to review voter fraud in America.
Jay Heck, executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin, points to a number of voting experts and lawmakers who say such fraud does not exist. Heck says the commission has a hidden agenda. "Donald Trump and the person that he wants to put in charge of this, a guy by the name of Kris Kobach, who is the secretary of state of Kansas - they want to make it even more difficult for more people to vote," Heck asserts. While Vice President Mike Pence would chair the commission, Kobach actually would run it. Heck says under Kobach's lead, Kansas has passed some of the most restrictive voting laws in the nation, particularly designed to affect undocumented immigrants. Trump often has insisted that somewhere between 3 million and 5 million fraudulent votes were cast in the 2016 election. Heck disagrees. "If you look at elections for the last - since 2000 or even before that - there have been billions of votes cast in the entire country and they cannot find more than a handful of people that voted twice or voted illegally, deliberately," Heck points out.
In recent years, Wisconsin has passed some of the most stringent voter photo-ID laws in the nation, and a study by Priorities USA says the new law reduced turnout in the Badger State by 200,000 votes. Trump won Wisconsin by less than 23,000 votes. "Wisconsin had the largest voter turnout drop off between the 2016 and 2012 elections," Heck states. "In other words, there were more people that voted in 2012. The drop off was larger than in any other state except Mississippi."
According to federal court records, nearly 10 percent of Wisconsin voters - 300,000 people - did not have the strict forms of voter ID required by Wisconsin's new law.
Wisconsin News Connection is here.