FEC chairwoman Ellen Weintraub calls out Trump for voter fraud claims
WASHINGTON – The chair of the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) sent a letter to President Donald Trump on Friday asking him for evidence to substantiate his claims of voter fraud in New Hampshire.
Ellen Weintraub, a Democrat who had been nominated under President George W. Bush’s administration, cited a claim Trump had made to reporters before his Thursday night rally in Manchester, N.H. Trump had said he could have won New Hampshire in 2016 if not for “thousands and thousands of people, coming in from locations unknown.”
Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire by fewer than 3,000 votes.
Weintraub noted that she had asked Trump for evidence of voter fraud when the president had raised the issue during previous public appearances, but he had not provided any proof.
“What I wrote to you in March 2017 is just as true now: Our democracy depends on the American people’s faith in our elections. Your voter-fraud allegations run the risk of undermining that faith,” Weintraub wrote. “Just as seriously, baseless allegations of fraud have been used to rationalize indefensible laws that deter certain U.S. citizens from exercising their right to vote. Words matter, and facts matter.”
“The American people are ill-served when our leaders put forward unfounded allegations of voter fraud,” she added.
She concluded her letter by trying to put her message in a way she thought Trump would understand.
“To put it in terms a former casino operator would understand: There comes a time when you need to lay your cards on the table or fold.”
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Trump has touted voter ID laws ahead of the 2020 election, though he has never provided evidence for his claims of voter fraud.
“It’s also time for Democrats to join with us to protect the sacred integrity of our elections by supporting voter ID,” he said to applause at his Manchester rally.
Trump had previously explained his popular vote loss to Clinton by repeatedly suggesting millions of people voted fraudulently for his Democratic opponent. The president never provided evidence for the claim, which drew pointed push back from both Republican and Democrat state election officials.
Democrats have long questioned the need for voter ID requirements and say they hearken to earlier efforts to suppress minority turnout.
“Donald Trump can’t win an election based on his ideas so he has to suppress the vote to win,” presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders wrote on Twitter. “What a coward.”
Contributing: John Fritze