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FEC chair on Trump claim: 'No evidence of rampant voter fraud in 2016'

USA TODAY logo USA TODAY 8/19/2019 Rebecca Morin

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WASHINGTON – The chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission pushed back against President Donald Trump's unsubstantiated claim of voter fraud in 2016, saying that there is no evidence of fraud and statements like that are "damaging to our democracy."

Ellen Weintraub, who is a Democrat, said Monday that no one has found any evidence of "rampant voter fraud," despite assertions that that effect from Trump.

“There is no evidence of rampant voter fraud in 2016 or really in any previous election,” Weintraub said in an interview with CNN.

“People have studied this. Academics have studied this. Lawyers have studied this. The government has studied this. Democrats have studied this. Republicans have studied this,” she continued. “And no one can find any evidence of rampant voter fraud either historically or particularly in the 2016 elections.”

More: FEC chairwoman calls out Trump over New Hampshire voter fraud claims

Ahead of a rally in Manchester, N.H., Thursday, Trump told reporters that he could have won the Granite State in 2016 if not for "thousands and thousands of people, coming in from locations unknown."

Ellen L. Weintraub wearing glasses © Provided by USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Satellite Information Network, Inc. At his rally, he went on to tell supporters that he lost state's four electoral votes due to voter fraud. Democrat Hillary Clinton won New Hampshire in 2016 by fewer than 3,000 votes

"It was taken away from us," Trump told his supporters at the New Hampshire rally.

More: Donald Trump touts voter ID laws as an issue in the 2020 election. Here’s why.

Citing Trump's remarks, Weintraub sent a letter to the president on Friday asking him for evidence to substantiate his claims of voter fraud in New Hampshire. When asked Monday whether the White House has been responsive to her letter, the FEC chairwoman said no.

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Monday Weintraub also said the unsubstantiated comments that the president keeps making are damaging to our democracy because they cause "people to lose faith" and to "question the results" of elections. She noted that the U.S. has serious threats, such as international cybersecurity threats, that should be taking priority.

"Facts matter, and people of America need to be able to believe what their leaders tell them," she said. "It is damaging to our democracy to spread information that ... is baseless."

"To be suggesting to people that if the candidate they choose doesn't win that it is because of fraud, that undermines our democracy," she continued. "It undermines people's faith, and once that faith is broken, it is very hard to build up again."

Contributing: Nicholas Wu

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: FEC chair on Trump claim: 'No evidence of rampant voter fraud in 2016'

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