Kobach points to ‘lingering doubts’ in opening voter fraud commission

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) opened the first meeting of President Trump's voter fraud commission by stating that there are a “substantial number of people” who question whether U.S. elections are fair.

Kobach, the commission’s vice chairman and a longtime critic of illegal immigration and what he has argued is widespread voter fraud, said there are “lingering doubts” about America's electoral system.

“We owe it to the American people to take a hard and dispassionate look at the subject,” he said.

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Democrats have accused Kobach of leading an effort meant to clamp down on voting rights, and a number of states have refused to cooperate with requests from the commission for information.

Trump has blamed voter fraud on his loss of the popular vote in last year’s presidential election to Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonProminent Putin critic: If Trump turns me over, I'm dead Dems unveil slate of measures to ratchet up pressure on Russia Trump tweets old video of Clinton talking up 'a strong Russia' MORE, who defeated him by nearly 3 million votes. He has said that millions of votes were cast illegally for Clinton, but has not provided any evidence to support his allegations.

Kobach said the commission will conduct research into voter fraud that has never been conducted before. 

“I’ve often thought that at the very foundation of our republic are really two bedrock things: the American Constitution and the faith and reality that our elections are conducted fairly,” he said. 

“If you take away either of those two things, I believe that our Republic cannot stand for long.” 

He also said the commission will respect privacy as it conducts its mission.

“We respect the voter's privacy and will not identify individual voters with our voter roll data, but we will lay out factual findings and systematic problems we can identify in our electoral system,” he said.