By Alex Bregman
President Trump is launching an Election Integrity Commission to conduct an investigation into voter fraud in the United States. It’s doubling down on his previous claims of widespread voter fraud in the country.
So what has he claimed?
That 3 million to 5 million votes were cast suspiciously in 2016 from undocumented immigrants, people registered in more than one state or dead people, and that’s why he lost the popular vote.
He tweeted about this just days after the election.
And he did so again to members of Congress days after being sworn in as president.
So what is Trump’s evidence?
The White House cited certain studies. Press secretary Sean Spicer said earlier this year, “I think there’s been studies. There was one that came out of Pew in 2008 that showed 14 percent of people who had voted were noncitizens. There’s other studies that have been presented to him. It’s a belief he maintains.”
However, Trump’s evidence actually combined two studies, and neither backs up his claims.
First, the 14 percent noncitizen figure came from a political science blog hosted by the Washington Post. The original column received three rebuttals, and studies of that study actually found it didn’t back up its claims.
Second, the Pew Research study that Spicer cited, which is from 2012, focused on issues with inaccurate voter registration, either when people move out of state or are deceased.
Here’s what the author of that study had to say about it: “If you look at the numbers, you’re more likely to get bitten by a shark who’s won the power ball lottery than, you know, find someone who has committed voter fraud.”
Trump had faced criticism over his claims even from some in his own party. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said, “I am begging that the president share with us the information you have about this or please stop saying it.”
The president is not backing down from announcing he’s launching a major investigation. But what might he find?
According to experts, a person is more likely to get struck by lightning than to engage in illegal voting activities. One report specifically found that election voter-fraud rates were less than 1 percent.
So as the president goes full steam ahead with his widespread investigation, when it comes to the facts about voter fraud, at least you can say, “Now I get it.”