After President Donald Trump launched a commission to examine allegations of improper voting in November’s presidential election, Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill responded, saying that she hopes his review of alleged voter fraud is not a “fig leaf for voter suppression and intimidation.”
Trump, who won the electoral college but lost the popular vote, has alleged, without evidence, that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally in his 2016 contest against Hillary Clinton. He said he believes illegal voting - including ballots cast by people who were registered to vote in multiple states, were not citizens, or were impersonating people whose names had remained on voting rolls after they died - reduced his margin of victory. There is no evidence to support his claims.
A Democrat and president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, Merrill said Thursday that voter fraud is extremely rare and it has been used “as an excuse to disenfranchise tens of thousands of eligible voters.”
A number of people share her concerns about the bipartisan commission, led by Vice President Mike Pence and, as vice-chair, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
Kobach was the driving force behind a Kansas law requiring new voters to produce a passport, a birth certificate or naturalization papers as proof of citizenship; other states accept more easily accessible forms of identification, such as a driver’s license. Kobach was able to disqualify the votes of thousands of people who did not have these documents, including many elderly and minorities.
Could it happen here? We are confident that our own state officials will do all they can to protect the right of all of our citizens to vote.
Still, this is one to watch.