On Wednesday morning, Donald Trump announced plans to launch a federal investigation based on one of the central lies of his campaign and the Republican Party’s rhetoric over the past several years: the notion that voter fraud is a massive and evidently well-hidden epidemic.
I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2017
even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time). Depending on results, we will strengthen up voting procedures!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2017
The results of any such genuine investigation would find that mass voter fraud is an impossibility, as our Rick Hasen wrote in October:
The truth is, though, that not only does zero evidence exist that this sort of fraud has taken place on any regular basis, but multiple voting simply cannot happen in any practical sense on a scale to influence a presidential election. To vote five, 10, or 15 times one would have to either register five, 10, or 15 times in different jurisdictions or with false names or go five, 10, or 15 times to polling places claiming to be someone else whose name is on the voter rolls, in the hopes that this person has not already voted and you would not get caught. And to do this on a scale for a presidential election, in a place such as Pennsylvania with millions of voters, you would need to pay tens of thousands of people, all without any way of verifying how they voted. What a stupid way to try to steal an election!
This, of course, has not stopped Trump from insisting that illegitimate voters significantly influenced the results of November’s election. On Tuesday, it was reported that Trump privately told congressional leaders in a meeting that “between 3 million and 5 million illegal votes caused him to lose the popular vote.” Clearly, Clinton’s vote win bothers him personally, despite his victory. He now plans to use the levers of federal government power to nurse his wounded ego and, perhaps, put alternative facts about the prevalence of voter fraud into circulation.