The vice chair of the White House voter fraud commission claimed Tuesday that the results of the 2016 election may have been irrevocably compromised by ballots cast by ineligible voters.
Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach said during a Wednesday interview on MSNBC that it’s possible we’ll never know how many legal votes were cast for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton.
“You know we may never know the answer to that,” said Kobach when asked if he believed Clinton legitimately won the popular vote by three million to five million. (According to the Associated Press, the margin was 2,864,974.) “We’ll probably never know the answer to that because even if you could prove that a certain number of votes were cast by ineligible voters, for example, you wouldn’t know how they voted.”
President Trump claimed has claimed multiple times in the aftermath of the election that he actually won the popular vote. Wednesday marked the first meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, the panel that’s received pushback from across the political spectrum for its attempts to gather voter data.
Kobach repeated his answer moments later.
“We may never know the answer to that question,” said Kobach when asked again to clarify his position.
“How do you say ‘We may never know the answer to that?’” asked anchor Katy Tur. “Really? You really believe that?”
“What I’m saying is, let’s suppose the commission determined there were some number of votes cast by ineligible voters,” said Kobach, “you still wouldn’t know whether those people who were ineligible voted for Trump or for Clinton or for somebody else, and so it’s impossible to ever know exactly if you took out all the ineligible votes what the final tally would be in that election. You can obviously, based on the data, make some very educated guesses.”
“So are the votes for Donald Trump that led to him to win the election in doubt as well?” asked Tur.
“Absolutely,” said Kobach. “If there are ineligible voters in an election, people who are noncitizens, people who are felons who shouldn’t be voting according to the laws of that state, you don’t know.”
On the face of it, that contradicts Trump’s often-expressed belief that illegal voters, presumably mostly undocumented immigrants, all supported Clinton — the basis of his claim that he actually should be considered the winner of the popular vote.
Kobach said the purpose of the commission was to restore trust in the voting process in the United States, not to find validate Trump’s claims. Despite the White House repeatedly claiming evidence was available to prove this, there have been only a few cases of voter fraud found from November 2016, and Trump supporters committed a majority of them.
Kobach, who has been called “the king of voter suppression” by the ACLU, lost a lawsuit last year and was forced to restore the registrations his office had stripped from nearly 20,000 Kansans. He has also supported the White House commission using Crosscheck, a program that researchers found caused 200 legitimate voters to be stopped from casting a ballot for every double vote stopped.
Critics of the commission have said its purpose is to sow mistrust in the voting process to allow overhauls to U.S. voting laws, which could lead to the purging of voter rolls and stricter registration policies to further complicate the voting process.
Trump — who spent months suggesting that the election would be rigged against him — reiterated in a statement Wednesday his claims that large numbers of people voted illegally, citing his usual source: “people.”
“This issue is very important to me because throughout the campaign and even after it, people would come up to me and express their concerns about voter inconsistencies and irregularities, which they saw,” Trump said before the first meeting of his voter fraud panel commenced. “In some cases, having to do with very large numbers of people in certain states.”
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