'There was no rampant voter fraud in 2016 or any previous election.'
Ellen Weintraub, chair of the Federal Election Commission, is calling on Trump to put up or shut up when it comes to his ludicrous and repeatedly debunked claims of rampant voter fraud across the country.
"Facts matter," Weintraub said on CNN Monday morning, responding to yet another baseless claim by Trump about voter fraud in the 2016 election. "Academics have studied this. Lawyers have studied this. The government has studied this. Democrats have studied this. Republicans have studied this. And no one can find any evidence of rampant voter fraud either historically or particularly in the 2016 elections."
Before a Thursday campaign rally in New Hampshire, Trump once again embraced the fact-free assertion of voter fraud in 2016.
"New Hampshire should have been won last time, except we had a lot of people come in at the last moment, which was a rather strange situation," Trump said. "Thousands and thousands of people coming in from locations unknown. But I knew where their location was." In the past, Trump claimed without evidence buses full of voters from out of state to vote against him.
Weintraub said "it is damaging to our democracy" for Trump to spread misinformation with no basis in fact and that the Trump administration has not provided any evidence to the FEC of rampant voter fraud.
Weintraub asked for any evidence Trump has related to voter fraud in an Aug. 16 letter.
"The American people are ill-served when our leaders put forward unfounded allegations of voter fraud," Weintraub wrote.
"To put it in terms a former casino operator should understand: There comes a time when you need to lay your cards on the table or fold."
Trump has lied about voter fraud ever since he lost the 2016 popular vote by roughly three million votes. Without providing any evidence, Trump claimed "millions" of undocumented immigrants voted in California, and claimed, again with no evidence, that voters were being bused into New Hampshire. Trump also bought into a voter fraud conspiracy in Texas, which turned out to be fraudulent effort led by Republicans to gin up panic with no basis in fact.
After Republicans faced historic losses in the 2018 midterm election, Trump said people could vote more than once by putting on a disguise.
"Sometimes they go to their car, put on a different hat, put on a different shirt, come in and vote again," Trump told the Daily Caller, a far-right outlet with ties to white nationalists. There is no evidence of this type of voter fraud happening.
Other Republicans adopted Trump's baseless voter fraud conspiracy theories. In Southern California, former Rep. Mimi Walters claimed that counting all the votes in her district amounted to a fraudulent effort to "steal" her seat. In reality, voters just didn't want her to represent them in Washington anymore and elected Democrat Katie Porter to replace her.
When asked how Trump's lies about voter fraud damages democracy, Weintraub explained.
"It causes people to lose faith. It causes people to question the results," she said.
"To be suggesting to people that if the candidate they choose doesn't win, that it's because of fraud, that undermines our democracy," she said. "It undermines people's faith. And once that faith is broken, it is very hard to build back up again."
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.