Trump: Mike Pence to lead voter fraud probe

President Trump has repeatedly asserted, without evidence, that his loss of the popular vote was caused by at least 3 million people voting illegally.

David Swanson/The Philadelphia Inquirer/AP
Vice President Mike Pence speaks at Congress Hall in Philadelphia on Saturday at an event was hosted by the Federalist Society, a conservative legal group.

Vice President Mike Pence will head an investigation into voter fraud, President Trump said in remarks broadcast this weekend, after alleging for months that widespread illegal voting cost him the popular vote.

On the campaign trail, Mr. Trump argued that he would only lose key swing states such as Pennsylvania if serious voter fraud occurred in left-leaning cities like Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. While he won the Keystone State and subsequently took a majority of votes in the Electoral College, Trump lost the popular vote to Democratic challenger Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes.

Since then, Trump has continued to say that between 3 and 5 million illegal immigrants voted in Democrat-leaning states such as California, where Clinton won by millions of ballots. Despite a lack of evidence to support these claims and pushback from both Republican and Democratic congressional members calling on him to drop the claims, Trump has insisted that a probe into the alleged fraud is necessary to safeguard the nation’s democratic process.

"I'm going to set up a commission to be headed by Vice President Pence and we're going to look at it very, very carefully," Trump told Fox News Channel's Bill O'Reilly in an interview that aired Sunday.

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky acknowledged on CNN's "State of the Union" that voter fraud does occur, but said that "there is no evidence that it occurred in such a significant number that would have changed the presidential election."

He also cautioned against using federal funds in a deep dive into the issue.

"And I don't think we ought to spend any federal money investigating that," he said. "I think the states can take a look at this issue."

Several other Republicans have agreed, hoping the president will focus his energy elsewhere now that he's entered the office.

Late last month, House Oversight Committee chairman Jason Chaffetz (R) of Utah said he saw no evidence of voter fraud in the general election and declined to have the committee investigate it, but noted that the Justice Department was free to open an investigation at Trump’s request.

Past investigations and studies into voter fraud have found that the phenomenon is rare, without enough weight to sway an election. A study by Justin Levitt, a law professor at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles, found that nationwide, since 2000, there have been 31 instances of the types of voter fraud targeted by voter identification laws. 

Still, the debate around election laws in light of possible fraud has divided legislators and elected officials along partisan lines. In recent years, Democrats have generally tried to make voting easier and to oppose voting restrictions, which they argue often disproportionately affect minority and low-income citizens. Meanwhile, Republicans have worked to enact stricter regulations, arguing that such measures are vital to ensuring only citizens with legal voting rights cast ballots.

The future of voting legislation across the country remains uncertain, as states look to the federal courts to settle more than a dozen lawsuits involving voting rights and access.

Voting litigation is increasing, not decreasing,” Ned Foley, an election law professor at The Ohio State University, told The Christian Science Monitor last week. Judging by judicial outcomes so far, he says, “The main impression … is that when a law looks like it’s engaging in outright disenfranchisement of a valid voter, even conservative judges have been stopping that. [But] the judiciary is more tolerant with state legislatures adjusting issues of convenience and accessibility, if the adjustment is not outright disenfranchisement.”

This report contains material from Reuters and the Associated Press.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.
Real news can be honest, hopeful, credible, constructive.
What is the Monitor difference? Tackling the tough headlines – with humanity. Listening to sources – with respect. Seeing the story that others are missing by reporting what so often gets overlooked: the values that connect us. That’s Monitor reporting – news that changes how you see the world.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Trump: Mike Pence to lead voter fraud probe
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today