Commission set up to probe U.S. voter fraud

Mr Trump has alleged, without evidence, that three to five million people voted illegally in his 2016 campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The commission, established by executive order, is the upshot of Trump's unsubstantiated claim shortly after taking office that more than 3 million undocumented immigrants illegally voted in November's election.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the commission would be bipartisan and composed of about a dozen members, including current and former state election officials and experts.

Earlier on Thursday, Trump signed an executive order to create the Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. I have learned the hard way by covering elections that often there are claims that make it sound like we have finally stumbled on a giant voter fraud story, but then it doesn't pan out that way.

The role of Kobach in the commission is even more troubling, as he has doggedly pursued voter suppression measures as Kansas' secretary of state, where his stringent registration requirements blocked around 18,000 people from registering to vote.

President Donald Trump on Thursday established a new federal commission with the goal of targeting problems in voting systems across the United States.

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State election officials across the U.S. have disputed his claim.

Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice, called the commission "a sham and distraction", alleging that the announcement was an attempt by Trump "to pivot" from his firing this week of James B. Comey as Federal Bureau of Investigation director.

Kobach insists that this effort wasn't launched to prove that voter fraud is sweeping the nation: "The commission does not begin with foregone conclusions". At least three additional secretaries of state are expected to be involved, Bill Gardner of New Hampshire, Connie Lawson of IN and Matthew Dunlap of Maine. The American Civil Liberties Union, now suing Kobach's office over a Kansas law that requires proof of citizenship in order to register to vote, requested the release of the documents Kobach brought to his meeting with Trump.

"If the commission finds what I suspect they're going to find, I suspect it will go away with a whimper", Dunlap said. Democrats and the American Civil Liberties Union criticised the commission, saying it will likely lead to more barriers for minority and low-income voters.

The report, which officials said should be completed by 2018, must also include information on the vulnerabilities in federal voting systems that could lead to improper voter registrations and voter fraud.

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