Donald Trump and Paul LePage see the Northeast as a hotbed of voter fraud, where no election outcome can be trusted. As president of the United States and governor of Maine, respectively, they are in uniquely powerful positions to ferret out this fraud, yet despite what they see as a threat to our democracy, they have ordered no investigations.

If they did, they would find nothing, just as other investigations have found no evidence of consequential fraud.

Still, their constant, fantastical hawing clears the way for legislation aimed at making it harder for people to vote. Maine has said no to these restrictions before and we should continue to do so.

At least two bills in front of the Legislature will try to capitalize on the fanciful claims by Trump and LePage. One would require voter identification at the polls, while another would make it more difficult for college students to vote in Maine.

They would be necessary if millions of people took advantage of the lack of voter ID laws to vote illegally, or if college students commonly cast ballots in two states. That’s what happens in the ridiculous conspiracies concocted by Trump, who says as many as 5 million voted illegally in New Hampshire on Nov. 8, and LePage, who said after the election that he could not stand by the results. No, these restrictions do not eliminate widespread fraud, because there isn’t any widespread fraud to eliminate. Study after study backs this up, with the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University finding that voter impersonation occurs in, at most, .0025 percent of ballots.

And a 2011 review by then-Secretary of State Charlie Summers, a Republican, found no evidence that students and noncitizens were voting in Maine.

However, the restrictions do accomplish something – they keep largely Democratic voters from voting.

Around the country, Republican-controlled legislatures and governor’s offices are requiring voter ID, eliminating same-day registration, shortening the early-voting period, and making it harder for students to vote, knowing their party benefits.

So they’ll ignore the ample evidence that voter fraud occurs so infrequently that it is practically non-existent, and they’ll ignore the fact they are putting barriers in place to keep American citizens from exercising their right to vote.

The Election Assistance Commission was created after the 2000 presidential election to help states implement new voting procedures and act as a clearinghouse for information on new technology. This month, a GOP-controlled House committee, along party lines, voted to shut down the commission. Ballot security, indeed.

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