11/27/2016: President-Elect Donald Trump tweeted the first salvo of a relentless four-year campaign: “I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” So unshakeable was his belief that he could not have lost the popular vote that he created the bi-partisan Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to investigate voter fraud.

The Commission was dissolved abruptly by President Trump after barely six months, without ever issuing a report, though the White House continued to claim “substantial evidence of voter fraud.” Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, a member of the Commission, obtained court-ordered access to the Commission’s documents in their entirety and has made them publicly available (paceidocs.sosonline.org). Speaking in an interview about the 8,000+ pages of documents, Dunlap refuted the White House claim of purported evidence, stating, “. . . what’s not in there is any substantiated evidence of voter misconduct at any scale.”

After disbanding the Commission, President Trump simply doubled down on unsubstantiated assaults on our electoral system. He predicts 2020 will be the “most rigged election in US history,” and uses phrases like “there’s tremendous fraud involved,” without a single reference to a factual report.

Chris Krebs, director of the CISA (Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency) stated on 7/17/2020, “The 2020 election will be the most secure election in modern history.” and on 9/2/2020, “There is no question the security of our election systems has vastly improved…” David Becker of the non-partisan Center for Election Innovation and Research responded to voters’ worries about fraud in a live interview with callers. A former elections lawyer for the Department of Justice, Becker expressed high confidence in mail-in voting. “Fraud occurs extremely rarely and it’s caught and it’s prosecuted, as it should be,” he stated.

The US has one of the longest records of peaceful transition of power in the world. Such is the stature of our electoral process that other nations routinely request us to monitor their elections. The President has the same First Amendment rights as every citizen, but infinitely greater responsibility for his words. Voter fraud, however uncommon it might be, deserves scrutiny. Wholesale unjustified sabotage of voters’ faith in their electoral system presents an immeasurably greater threat to our democracy, and is a betrayal of the office of President and of the American people. Whether in person or by mail, guard our democracy by exercising your right to vote.

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