According to ABC News, President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order Thursday that will establish a commission with the purpose of investigating voter fraud and suppression in the U.S. election system.
Trump has said in the past that voter fraud occurred during the 2016 election, even claiming in a tweet that he won the popular vote if the "millions of people" who voted illegally were deducted. This came after failed Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton won 3 million more votes in the presidential election.
In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1480278643.0
Trump later made the promise on Twitter in January that he would be asking for a "major investigation" into voting fraud.
I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and....— Donald J. Trump (@Donald J. Trump)1485346201.0
ABC News said that according to multiple senior officials, Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach are to be named chair and vice chair, respectively, of the commission, which will be called the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity. This commission will be a bipartisan group tasked with seeking out "vulnerabilities" within the country's voting system, and "improper voting, fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting," according to one official.
Kobach was likely chosen as vice chair for the committee over his efforts to combat voter fraud in Kansas. In April, Kobach — the only secretary of state in the U.S. with the power to prosecute voter fraud — convicted a man named Victor David Garcia Bebek after Bebek had pleaded guilty for voting illegally in three separate elections without being a U.S. citizen.
Bebek's conviction for voter fraud was the eighth such conviction for Kobach, with the other seven convictions for individuals who had voted twice in the same election within different states.
The White House would not provide ABC News with a draft copy of the executive order Trump is to sign, but did say that the commission will not only be investigating Trump's claims about the 2016 election's popular vote count, but also the "systemic issues that have been raised over many years in terms of the integrity of the elections."
Additionally, the commission will be investigating claims of voter suppression, which officials hope will increase Democratic support for the commission.
While the specific identity of commission members has yet to be solidified, lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are already being considered.
From ABC News:
Membership of the commission is still taking shape even as Trump is poised to sign the order creating it. Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson (R), New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner (D), Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap (D), Christie McCormick, commissioner of the election assistance commission, and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (R), are among the names under consideration, the administration officials said.
Trump's commission does face opposition within the Republican party. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in February that no federal money should go to investigating voter fraud, and such investigations should be handled at the state level.
"This sort of thing is handled at the state level, and the Democrats always claim there's no election fraud at all," McConnell said. "That is, of course, not true — election fraud does occur. There's no evidence that it occurred in such a significant number that would have changed the presidential election, and I don't think we ought to spend any federal money investigating that."