Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap says the commission created by President Trump to investigate alleged voter fraud also should examine Russian efforts to hack state electoral systems.

“It’s a mathematical equation in my mind,” Dunlap, a member of the commission, said Thursday. “If you are concerned about the integrity of the election, then anything that would impact that integrity – including electronic interference or the tampering of voting lists – I think definitely we have to put that into the mix.”

Dunlap called for the expansion after another Democrat on the nascent commission, New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, told a reporter he wanted the commission to move in that direction, a major shift for a body created to probe Trump’s evidence-free claim that 3 million people voted illegally in the 2016 election, depriving him of a popular vote victory.

“There’s stuff coming out now that states were hacked in this election,” Gardner told the Boston Globe, adding that he wanted to be sure voting in states with electronic voting systems wasn’t compromised.

The commission’s vice chair, Kansas’ Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach, told the Globe he was open to the idea. “If it’s something the commission wants to discuss, we can,” he said.

The commission’s chair, Vice President Mike Pence, referred questions to Kobach.


In early May, Dunlap announced he’d agreed to join the commission, despite being skeptical of the president’s claims of widespread voter fraud.

Since then, Dunlap says, there has been radio silence from the commission. He said the body has never met and he doesn’t know who all of the other members are. He also said he hadn’t spoken with Gardner or Kobach about the idea of expanding the probe to include Russian hacking, but agreed it was a good idea when asked by a Globe reporter.

“Whether they are still tying to put together the commission or if other things have pushed it off the front burner of the stove, I don’t know,” Dunlap added.

Experts say Maine is relatively invulnerable to hacking efforts because all polling locations use paper ballots, which can be manually counted if there is any suspicion cast on the electronic tabulation of the results. Maine also has same-day voter registration, so even if hackers compromised the state’s centralized voter registration database, the election could proceed, albeit with headaches.

Sen. Angus King of Maine sits on the Senate committee that is investigating Russian involvement in the election and has said he considers the attempted and likely continuing infiltration of state election systems to be the most serious threat that’s emerged. Last week, the committee, which also includes Republican Sen. Susan Collins of Maine, heard testimony from cybersecurity experts and national security officials about the seriousness of the situation, and news outlets digested the implications of a Bloomberg News report alleging that the Russians had infiltrated voter registration systems in 39 states.

Intelligence officials have told King and other senators that they have found no evidence of the actual voting results being changed, but ample evidence of Russian infiltration of voter registration databases and other electoral systems, which cybersecurity experts say are stepping stones toward tampering with voting machines.


Trump has claimed that 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally in the 2016 election, depriving him of a popular vote victory. He has provided no evidence for that claim, or for his assertion that busloads of illegal voters snatched victory from him in New Hampshire.

Voting experts and many lawmakers have dismissed the allegations, with outgoing House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, saying his committee would not investigate because there was no evidence of voter fraud.

Colin Woodard can be contacted at:

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