An NBC News anchor and a member of President Donald Trump’s voter-fraud commission clashed during a live interview about the group’s attempts to uncover cases of voter fraud in the US.
Things went off the rails quickly on Thursday as NBC’s Katy Tur told former Ohio secretary of state Ken Blackwell that previous independent studies found no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the US.
As Tur prefaced her question with study data compiled by a Loyola Law School professor, Blackwell attempted to interject.
“Let me stop you right there,” Blackwell said.
“Hold up, let me finish what I’m saying,” Tur insisted.
Both Tur and Blackwell tried to get the upper hand, but ended up talking over each other for a solid 20 seconds of live television.
The data Tur had attempted to cite established that there were only 31 credible incidents of voter fraud out of more than 1 billion votes cast from 2000 to 2014, according to a study by Justin Levitt, a professor at Loyola Law School.
Blackwell argued that national US voter registration files were “corrupted,” with some voters being registered in more than one state, and with deceased citizens remaining on current voter rolls. He appeared to be citing a Pew Charitable Trusts report that asserted a voter registration system upgrade was indeed necessary.
The report, however, did not suggest that millions of ballots were cast on behalf of dead voters, as Trump repeatedly claimed on the 2016 campaign trail.
When asked whether Russia’s meddling in the US presidential election was one of the commission’s considerations, Blackwell said, “Any bad actor — whether foreign or domestic — any action that corrupts the integrity of our system should be fair game for our exploration.”
Some states have pushed back against the commission’s activities, including its recent request for a wide array of voter information.
States that refused to provide the data span the political spectrum, from Alabama to California. Maryland’s attorney general, Brian Frosh, said the commission’s request was “designed only to intimidate voters and to indulge President Trump’s fantasy that he won the popular vote.” And Kentucky’s secretary of state, Alison Lundergan Grimes, said, “There’s not enough bourbon here in Kentucky to make this request seem sensible.”