Cummings, Brady, and Clyburn Demand Proof of Unsubstantiated Republican Claims of Voter Fraud
Washington, D.C. (Jan. 25, 2017)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Rep. Robert A. Brady, Ranking Member of the Committee on House Administration, and Assistant Democratic Leader James E. Clyburn are sending letters to the 102 chief election officials and attorneys general in all 50 states and the District of Columbia requesting all cases in which their offices have determined that an individual who cast a vote in the November election was prohibited from doing so.
“President Trump wants a major investigation of voter fraud—well now he has one,” said Cummings. “He continues to be obsessed with false numbers and statistics, but these are not ‘alternative facts,’ and there is no evidence to support these claims. What is a fact is that Republicans in statehouses across America have passed restrictive laws that impair the ability of legitimate voters to participate, and they use the myth of voter fraud to justify their abuses. We should be expanding the ability of legitimate voters to exercise their rights—not degrading them.”
“President Trump’s outrageous claim that millions of people have voted illegally is unconscionably dangerous to the future of our democracy. He has no proof for his assertions but eligible voters all across the country will suffer as a result. His comments denigrate the memory of those fought and died to secure the franchise for future generations,” Brady said.
“Republicans have used claims of widespread voter fraud to discriminate and restrict access to the ballot box for years,” Clyburn said. “President Trump's bizarre obsession with disputing his massive popular vote loss only further undermines American democracy. This investigation seeks to determine whether there is any basis in fact for those claims.”
This morning, President Trump tweeted: “I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!”
His tweet follows reports that he stated during a meeting with congressional leaders on Monday that “millions of unauthorized immigrants had robbed him of a popular vote majority.”
After being pressed by members of the White House press corps yesterday, White House press secretary Sean Spicer defended the President’s claim, stating: “He believes what he believes based on the information he was provided.”
He added: “The president does believe that, he has stated that before. I think he’s stated his concerns of voter fraud and people voting illegally during the campaign and he continues to maintain that belief based on studies and evidence people have presented to him.”
Spicer went on to cite a study “that came out of Pew in 2008 that showed 14% of people who have voted are non-citizens.” That claim itself has also been thoroughly debunked by the Washington Post, PolitiFact, and NPR.
In November, weeks after winning the election, President Trump tweeted: “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.”
When pressed by George Stephanopoulos to explain the tweet, Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway said: “To your question, the president-elect has been talking to different people, including Kris Kobach of Kansas, about voting irregularities or the number of illegal votes that may have been cast, and I believe that he based his information on that.”
Kobach served as secretary of state of Kansas, and in June 2016, Cummings, Brady and Clyburn launched an investigation into an Election Assistance Commission action to amend the federal voter registration form to require proof of citizenship in Alabama, Georgia, and Kansas. In September, a federal judge blocked the action after finding that it would disenfranchise legitimate voters.
Click here or read below for one sample letter.
January 25, 2017
The Honorable John H. Merrill The Honorable Luther Strange
Alabama Secretary of State Alabama Attorney General
P.O. Box 5616 Office of the Attorney General
Montgomery, AL 36103 P.O. Box 300152
Montgomery, AL 36130-0152
Dear Secretary of State Merrill and Attorney General Strange:
Thank you for your service in the critical work of helping ensure that elections across the country are free, fair, and administered in a way that upholds the fundamental tenets of the United States Constitution. We are writing given recent claims of voter fraud and its potential impact on our nation’s elections. To investigate these claims, we are seeking information regarding confirmed incidents of voter fraud.
To assist in our inquiry, we request that you provide a list of all specific cases in which either of your offices has determined that an individual who cast a vote in the federal elections held in November 2016 was legally prohibited from doing so. For each specific case, please include the following information:
1) the identity of the individual who cast the prohibited vote;
2) the date on which the prohibited vote took place;
3) the polling place where the prohibited vote occurred;
4) the specific legal reason the individual’s vote was prohibited; and
5) the result of the individual’s prosecution, if any.
Please include in this list all cases in which the state has determined that a prohibited vote was cast, regardless of whether a prosecution was initiated or concluded. Please feel free to provide joint or separate responses.
We request this information by February 22, 2017. Please contact Karen Kudelko of Ranking Member Cummings’ staff at (202) 225-5051, Khalil Abboud with Ranking Member Brady’s staff at (202) 225-2061, or Amy Miller Pfeiffer with Assistant Democratic Leader Clyburn’s staff at (202) 226-3210 with any questions.
Elijah E. Cummings Robert A. Brady James E. Clyburn
Ranking Member Ranking Member Assistant Democratic
Committee on Oversight and Committee on House Leader
Government Reform Administration
cc: The Honorable Jason Chaffetz
Chairman, House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform
The Honorable Gregg Harper
Chairman, Committee on House Administration