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World
12 May 2017

Trump launches commission to investigate voter fraud in presidential election

US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order to create a commission which will investigate instances involving alleged voter suppression voter fraud in last year's election.

The Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is built on Trump's unsubstantiated claims that millions voted illegally in the election.

The commission, which is chaired by Vice-President Mike Pence, will report back to Trump by 2018.

In context

Trump launches commission to probe voter fraud

Pence says commission will find ways to strengthen elections' integrity

Pence said the commission would "review ways to strengthen the integrity of elections in order to protect and preserve the principle of one person, one vote because the integrity of the vote is the foundation of our democracy."

Composition

White House: Commission would be bipartisan, will include experts

The White House said the commission would be bipartisan by comprising of two Republican and Democratic senators each.

Overall, it would contain around a dozen members, including current and former state election officials and experts.

"The president is committed to the thorough review of registration and voting issues in federal elections, and that's exactly what this commission is tasked with doing," it added.

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Details

Trump had for long alleged the election system was "rigged"

During his election campaign, Trump had repeatedly alleged that the election system was "rigged."

After the election, Trump claimed without presenting evidence that three to five million people voted illegally, which prevented him from winning the popular vote against Hillary Clinton.

Trump won the election by securing higher Electoral College votes.

Since his presidential inauguration, Trump had vowed to investigate voter fraud.

Selection of commission's vice chair is controversial

Controversial past

Selection of commission's vice chair is controversial

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's appointment as commission's vice chairman could be controversial.

Kobach, a Trump transition team adviser, had championed Kansas's proof-of-citizenship requirement which prevents non-citizens and illegal immigrants from voting as an anti-fraud measure.

Critics argue that while there have been a few fraud cases, the proof-of-citizenship measure suppresses voter turnout, especially within young and minority voters.

Democrats react

Democrats call commission a sham to supress voters

The commission has been dubbed a sham by Democrats and voting rights activists.

They contend that there are few, if any, credible instances of major voter fraud.

"The sole purpose of this commission is to propagate a myth and to give encouragement to Republican governors and state legislators to increase voter suppression," said Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders.

Democratic leader Schumer says commission will prevent African-Americans from voting

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said the commission was a "clear front for constricting the access to vote to poor Americans, older Americans, and, above all, African-Americans and Latinos."

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