Screenshot via CNN
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey accused President Donald Trump of “blatantly spreading absolute lies” about voter fraud during an interview on CNN Thursday.
Booker said Trump’s continued assertions that he lost the national popular vote in the US presidential election because of voter fraud – and his calls for an investigation into the matter – may have serious consequences that could disproportionately affect minorities.
“What [Trump] is saying is just wrong and outrageous and, in many ways, he’s doing the bidding of those who want to try to undermine voting,” Booker said.
The senator, who sits on the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, pointed to incidences of voter suppression in some parts of the country where laws were “narrowly tailored to effect certain communities to stop them from voting,” the senator said.
The 2016 presidential election was seen as the first in which the full protection of the US Voting Rights Act of 1965 was not in effect. After a 2013 Supreme Court ruling struck down Section 5 of that law, a number of states moved to close some polling locations – a move that once required federal approval.
ProPublica cited a study from the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights that found voters in states once covered by Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act had at least 868 fewer polling locations available to them during the 2016 election.
Screenshot via CNN
Trump has insisted a voter-fraud investigation is necessary, citing false claims that millions of people who are in the country illegally cast ballots in the election. The president has offered no proof to back up that claim.
Sen. Booker suggested any major voter-fraud investigation would only further efforts to marginalize real, legitimate voters:
“We have President Donald Trump … and soon-to-be, potentially, Attorney General Jeff Sessions who are not going into that office with this idea that we have a real problem of voter suppression in states like Texas and North Carolina, where it’s been documented … Instead, they’re going after a fiction that ultimately will play into the hands of these kinds of lies that Donald Trump is blatantly spreading,” Booker said.