Politics

Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes is criticizing President Donald Trump for launching a commission to investigate unfounded claims of voter fraud and suppression.

Trump signed an executive order Thursday creating the Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The president has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election.

In a statement, Grimes said that the commission will “no doubt serve as a tool to further real and serious Republican attacks on American voting rights and leave eligible voters disenfranchised.”

“With zero evidence and none provided since, [Trump has] boldly called into question the honorable work thousands of Americans do to conduct our free and fair elections,” Grimes said. “My mission as Kentucky’s chief election official has been to tear down barriers to the ballot box, not to erect them. That should be the mission of every American election administrator. This sham voter fraud commission will hamper that mission.”

During the White House press briefing on Thursday, deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the commission would include about a dozen members and would review polices that allow for improper voter registrations.

On the campaign trail last year, Trump alleged that the election would be “rigged” and warned, without evidence, that votes would be cast by undocumented immigrants and people using the identifications of dead voters.

The claims continued after the election, with Trump claiming that voter fraud kept him from winning the popular vote over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

Trump beat Clinton in the Electoral College 306 to 232, but Clinton won almost 2.86 million more votes.

On MSNBC earlier this year, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tamped down Trump’s claims of wide-scale voting fraud in the presidential election, but still claimed there were a “series of significant cases in Kentucky over the years.”

Though Kentucky does have a history of vote buying and coercion, there have not been documented cases of voter fraud — cases in which people have wrongfully registered to vote.

Ryland Barton is the Capitol bureau chief for Kentucky Public Radio.