President Trump signed an executive order Thursday launching a commission to review alleged voter fraud and voter suppression, building upon his unsubstantiated claims that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election, the AP reports. The White House said the president's "Advisory Commission on Election Integrity" would examine allegations of improper voting and fraudulent voter registration. Vice President Pence will chair the panel and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will be vice chair of the commission. Trump has alleged, without evidence, that 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally in the 2016 election. He has vowed since the start of his administration to investigate voter fraud.
Democrats and voting rights groups called the panel a sham, arguing there are few, if any, credible allegations of significant voter fraud. They warned that the panel would be used to lay the groundwork for stricter voting requirements that could make it more difficult for poor and minority voters to access the ballot box. Voting experts and many lawmakers have said they haven't seen anything to suggest that millions of people voted illegally, as Trump claims. Trump had previously identified Pence as the person to oversee the commission. Kobach championed Kansas' proof-of-citizenship requirement as an anti-fraud measure that keeps noncitizens from voting. Critics contend it suppresses voter turnout, particularly among young and minority voters, and that there have been few cases of fraud.