Donald Trump’s aides, daughter allegedly registered to vote in multiple states
Though the White House has provided little details on what the investigation would actually entail, Trump vowed to crack down on poor voting practices such as people who are registered to vote in more than one state – something several people close to him are reportedly guilty of.
Steve Bannon, the president’s chief strategist and senior counselor; Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s nominee to head the Treasury department; and his youngest daughter Tiffany Trump are all registered to vote in two states, according to several reports.
CNN reported Wednesday Bannon was registered to vote in both New York and Florida. A spokesman for the New York State Board of Elections told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune he voted in New York by absentee ballot.
The supervisor of elections for Sarasota County later told CNN Bannon was removed from the voting rolls.
Mnuchin also had active voter registration in New York, where he voted in 2008, and in California, according to CNN. While the report stated Los Angeles election officials could not confirm if Mnuchin had voted there in November, CNN obtained records that show he voted from his California address in the state’s Republican primary last year.
Trump’s youngest daughter Tiffany, who was seen placing her ballot in New York City in November, is also registered in Pennsylvania where she went to college.
None of those close to Trump are being accused of breaking voting laws. Its not illegal to be registered to vote in two states – it is, however, illegal to cast ballots in multiple states.
After months of allegations, Trump called for a major investigation into voter fraud Wednesday, vowing to strengthen voting procedures based on the outcome. The revelation came less than 24 hours after White House press secretary Sean Spicer stood by the president’s claims, maintaining Trump has long believed he lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton because of “widespread” illegal ballots.
Trump said the investigation would focus on “those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and even, those registered to vote who are dead (and many for a long time).”
Press secretary Sean Spicer would not say whether the investigation would be led by the FBI or some other agency. He said only that its goal would be “to understand where the problem exists and how deep it goes” and that it would not be limited to the 2016 election.
Trump’s voter fraud investigation could pave the way for tougher voting rules
A new push in the Republican-controlled Congress for federal voting restrictions could include a national voter identification or proof-of-citizenship requirement, or a campaign to update and purge voter rolls or limit registration efforts, voting advocates said.
While U.S. citizenship is required to vote in American elections, most states allow those wishing to register to simply sign a statement affirming they are citizens. Thirty-two states require some form of identification at the polls, the National Conference of State Legislatures said.
While outdated voter registrations caused by people moving or dying are not uncommon, many state election officials regularly update their voter lists to keep them up to date and outdated registrations do not constitute fraud, rights advocates said.
WATCH: Trump calls for investigation into voter fraud
Trump’s statements could “serve as a dog whistle for voter suppression tactics to be implemented around the country,” said Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a Washington-based advocacy group.
White House spokesman Sean Spicer told reporters the voter fraud investigation would “look at the scope of the problem” before solutions were proposed. “Maybe its voter ID in states,” he said. “But I think we have to understand where the problem exists; how deep it goes; and then suggest some remedies to it.”
– With files from Reuters and The Associated Press
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