AALDEF statement on the president's voter fraud commission

Thursday, May 11, 2017

President Trump today signed an executive order establishing a commission to investigate tenuous charges of voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election. Despite Trump's repeated assertions that millions of "illegals" voted in the 2016 elections, no credible evidence has been presented to support this baseless claim. In fact, the myth of widespread voter fraud has been used for years to garner support for voter suppression laws that target Asian Americans and other communities of color.

Margaret Fung, executive director of the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund (AALDEF) said: "The president's executive order creating a voter fraud commission is a distraction that shifts attention away from discriminatory barriers to voting affecting Asian American voters, especially new citizens and persons with limited English proficiency."

AALDEF was especially dismayed by the naming of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as vice chair of this commission. Mr. Kobach was the architect of Arizona's discriminatory law, S.B. 1070, and numerous failed attempts to subvert the National Voter Registration Act, by requiring additional proof of citizenship on the federal voter registration form.

Jerry Vattamala, AALDEF Democracy Program Director, said: "Kris Kobach, Jeff Sessions, and Donald Trump have made it clear that despite the United States having one of the lowest voter turnout rates in the world, they will pursue unsubstantiated claims of election fraud, even if Asian American and other voters of color are unfairly deterred from exercising their right to vote. AALDEF will continue to protect the rights of American citizens and will fight every effort to disenfranchise eligible voters."

AALDEF has conducted a nonpartisan election monitoring program and multilingual Asian American Exit Poll since 1988, most recently polling 13,846 Asian American voters in the 2016 elections. AALDEF plans to monitor elections in New York City, Boston, New Jersey and Virginia in 2017, and will monitor elections in numerous states and cities for the 2018 midterm elections. Vattamala said: "Too many patriots have died to protect the right to vote, and we will continue that fight against efforts to threaten our democracy."

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For more information, contact:
Jerry Vattamala, Democracy Program Director
212.966.5932 x209

Margaret Fung, Executive Director
212.966.5932 x201