With his call for Vice President Mike Pence to lead an investigation of vote fraud, President Trump has not given up on documenting his much-maligned claim that more than 3 million illegal-alien voters cost him the nationwide popular vote last November.
Amid vehement objection and ridicule from the left, there are many election experts who agree with the president that widespread vote fraud exists, including illegal-alien voting.
But they think it’s unwise to make any estimates of the number of illegal voters, because there is no hard data at the moment.
Yet, that likely will change with access now to records that were kept under wraps by the Obama administration.
J. Christian Adams, who worked in the Justice Department’s Voting Rights Section under President George W. Bush and now heads the non-profit Public Interest Law Foundation, emphasized to WND that “data-driven conclusions are the most valid.”
“Overstating the amount of alien voting without actual empirical data harms the effort to clean voter rolls,” he said.
Adams said his group currently is “gathering real data in Virginia, names of aliens, their original voter registration forms and similar evidence.”
While he and his colleagues have run into resistance, requiring federal court intervention in some instances, they have obtained voter-registration records from eight of Virginia’s 133 cities and counties, discovering 1,046 illegal aliens were illegally registered to vote. He’s also forced several counties to clean up their voter rolls in states such as Mississippi and Texas.
Gathering such data is the only way to make numerical conclusions, he said.
“Nobody has any idea how many aliens have voted because nobody has been collecting data. Estimates aren’t data. Surveys aren’t data. Data are data,” said Adams.
Earlier this week, civil rights leaders who met with Attorney General Jeff Sessions asked him to urge President Trump to call off plans for the blue-ribbon panel to probe vote fraud.
Sherrilyn Ifill, president of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, said Tuesday, according to Politico, the commission would be “seen to intimidate our communities.”
“We don’t need an investigation into something that doesn’t exist,” she said. “We should not be crediting the fantasies of this president at the cost of African Americans and Latinos feeling secure that they’re not being intimidated from voting and participating in the process.”
A White House spokeswoman told Politico she had no update on the plans for the commission.
3 million illegal-alien voters?
Steve Baldwin, a member of the California State Assembly from 1994-2000, told WND he saw evidence of illegal-alien voting in his San Diego-area district, which borders Mexico.
He takes issue with Old Dominion professor Jesse Richman’s recent estimate that Hillary Clinton received only about 800,000 illegal-alien votes, arguing the estimate is based a study Richman conducted in 2008, and much has changed since then.
He pointed out that along with refusing to cooperate with states that tried to verify voter registration records against federal databases of illegal aliens, the Obama administration spent at least $100 million dollars on programs that, in part, encouraged illegal aliens to vote.
He cited a Judicial Watch report of government documents showing the Obama administration spent $19 million alone in 2016 to register “immigrant voters.”
In addition, he noted that the number of states, since then, allowing non-citizens to obtain driver’s licenses has exploded.
Furthermore, Obama’s Justice Department sued states that attempted to pass voter ID laws.
“No other modern country in the world has such an absence of any kind of identification to vote, not even Mexico,” Baldwin commented.
For these reasons and others, Baldwin thinks Richman’s estimate that 6.4 percent of all illegal aliens voted in 2016 is way too low. Baldwin guesses the figure at least has doubled to 12 percent and may be as high as 15 percent.
Baldwin also disputed the estimate of 11 million illegal aliens in the country.
He said that would mean that the flow of illegal aliens, asylum applicants and refugees coming to America has been stagnant for a decade.
“But that is certainly not the case, no matter how much the Obama administration manipulates the numbers,” he said.
Baldwin cited the estimate of Zack Taylor of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Agents of about 20 million illegal aliens.
Assuming that figure, 12 percent would be 2.4 million illegal-alien voters. If it were 15 percent, that would mean 3 million voted.
John Fund, the author of several books on election fraud, agrees the Obama administration created an environment for vote-fraud to thrive.
“When it comes to illegal votes,” he told WND, “we need to end the Obama administration’s consistent refusal to cooperate with states on allowing access to records of legal foreigners, illegal aliens and the Justice Department’s refusal to require states to maintain clear voter lists if they accept federal funds for voting purposes.”
Fund, National Review Online’s national-affairs correspondent, is the author of “Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy” and co-author with Hans von Spakovsky of “Who’s Counting?: How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk.”
Fund and Adams agree that while major reform is needed, the federal government should not try to impose on the states a one-size-fits-all standard of integrity.
“Our Constitution leaves to states and counties the power to set the time, manner and place of elections,” Fund said. “Congress can override that, but should do so very carefully.”
He said “what the states need is data to know how big the illegal voting problem is, and then be put under public pressure to address the problem.”
Adams, Fund pointed out, has not found a single case in which election officials in the jurisdictions he examined recommended any illegal non-citizen voters for prosecution.
‘Blocked at every turn’
Catherine Engelbrecht, founder of the Houston, Texas-based vote-monitoring non-profit True the Vote, also emphasized the impact of the previous administration’s protection of illegal voters.
“The reality is no one knows how many non-citizens are voting, because under the Obama administration, attempts to find answers were blocked at every turn,” she told WND.
She noted states that attempted to pass voter ID legislation or ask for proof of citizenship were sued by the DOJ.
True the Vote itself, she said, “was targeted for takedown by the administration because of the work we do; researching illegal votes, calling out election fraud, empowering citizens.”
“We were asking questions they didn’t want answered,” she said.
During the 2010 election, the Texas Democratic Party accused Engelbrecht’s group of intimidating Hispanic and African-American voters in polling areas. In October 2012, Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., launched an investigation of True the Vote’s vote challenges in Ohio, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Maryland. True the Vote turned the tables two years later, filing complaints against Cummings for alleged collusion with the IRS concerning True the Vote’s tax-exempt status.
Her organization urges citizens: “If you see something at the polls that just doesn’t seem right, record it.”
“Now, with the leadership of the Trump administration, we finally have an opportunity to stop guessing at how big the problem is,” Engelbrecht told WND.
“Now, we can use actual hard data to get answers that are long overdue and we can work to stop the fraud and process failures that encourage perpetuation of the problem.”
She said True the Vote is engaged in a “forensic audit” of the 2016 election to uncover illegal votes, election fraud and process deficiencies.
“We will be comparing data from state voter registries with data from scores of other available databases, including certain state agencies, national change of address, social security death index, and results from hundreds of FOIA requests,” Engelbrecht said.
She said her group initially had hoped to have results by late spring, but the effort is taking more time than they had anticipated.
“We’re keeping on noses to the grindstone on this project and will release all our methodologies and all the raw data as soon as the project is complete.”
Engelbrecht said an estimate of 3 million illegal-alien voters made last year by activist Gregg Phillips was conducted independently from her group and she can’t verify it.
States document illegal voting
Meanwhile, some state officials also have been at work to document illegal voting.
Last week, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted announced that his office has identified an additional 385 non-citizens registered to vote in Ohio, 82 of whom have been identified as having voted in at least one election. It brings the total number of non-citizens on Ohio’s voter rolls Husted has been able to identify using available resources to 821, with 126 having actually cast ballots.
“I have a responsibility to preserve the integrity of Ohio’s elections system,” Husted said. “When you consider that in Ohio we have had 112 elections decided by one vote or tied in the last three years, every case of illegal voting must be taken seriously and elections officials must have every resource available to them to respond accordingly.”
Husted said, however, that none of the cases in which a non-citizen is shown to have cast a ballot occurred in jurisdictions where an election was decided by one vote or tied.
The Dallas Dallas Morning News reported Feb. 27 that the Department of Justice under Trump will support Texas officials’ claim that the state’s voter identification law did not specifically target minority voters.
It’s a retreat from the federal government’s previous stance, under the Obama administration, that state lawmakers intentionally discriminated when crafting the law.
The Arkansas House on Feb. 24 approved a proposed constitutional amendment to require voters to show photo identification at the polls, reported the Times Record newspaper of Fort Smith, Arkansas
The proposal, if passed by the Senate and referred to the November 2018 ballot and approved by voters, would amend the Arkansas Constitution to include a requirement that a person show photo ID before casting a ballot in person and include photo ID when mailing an absentee ballot.
Trump: ‘It’s really a bad situation’
Trump discussed his special commission to investigate voter fraud in an interview with Bill O’Reilly broadcast before the Super Bowl last month.
“Look, Bill, we can be babies, but you take a look at the registration, you have illegals, you have dead people you have this, it’s really a bad situation, it’s really bad,” Trump said.
Trump responded to criticism that his claim of voter fraud is not backed up by the data.
“Many people have come out and said I’m right, you know that,” he said.
“You have illegals, you have dead people … it’s really a bad situation.”
The Washington Post reported that Pence pledged to GOP lawmakers at the annual Republican retreat in Philadelphia that the administration would initiate a “full evaluation” of voting rolls nationwide.
But Trump’s plan may face a funding roadblock.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, has said he doesn’t want to spend federal funds on the investigation, leaving it to state authorities.
McConnell and other GOP leaders agree there is voter fraud but not on the scale claimed by Trump.
“There is no evidence that it occurred in such a significant number that would have changed the presidential election,” the majority leader said on CNN’s “State of the Union” last month.