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To the Editor:
On October 26, Mary Fay, the Republican candidate for Connecticut’s 18th House district, shared a post to her campaign’s Facebook page that amplified false information about undocumented immigrants and voter fraud. While Fay claims to be moderate, her post clearly echoes President Trump’s repeated false claims about immigrant voter fraud. As a West Hartford resident and scholar of immigration, I urge residents of the 18th district to reject Fay’s divisive rhetoric and to vote for Democratic candidate Jillian Gilchrest.
When sharing the “Conservative Connecticut” post, Fay wrote, “Voter fraud needs to be stopped immediately.” President Trump came to office making similar claims and set up a voter fraud commission to investigate. In January 2018, Trump disbanded the commission, which had produced no evidence of voter fraud. While Trump’s commission issued no report, the Brennan Center for Justice investigated claims of noncitizen voting and found only 30 likely incidences across the 23.5 million votes cast in the 2016 general election.
Without question, voter fraud is not acceptable in our elections, but there is no evidence that it is systematically occurring. Investigation after investigation has revealed that voter fraud is extremely rare and, where it does occur, it is often the result of unintentional mistakes by voters or election administrators. Nonetheless, Trump and allies like Fay continue to promote claims of noncitizen voting, as part of a larger effort to foster division and scapegoat immigrants.
In contrast, Jillian Gilchrest recognizes that the real voting crisis in American is low levels of participation. Jillian knows that a healthy democracy is one in which citizens can and do readily take part. She has vowed that once in office, she will support any measure to bolster and protect Connecticut citizens’ right to vote. Moreover, she recognizes the economic value and cultural richness that immigrants bring to our state and rejects efforts to blame newcomers for our challenges.
President Trump’s false and divisive claims have no place in West Hartford or in our state. I encourage residents of District 18 to send a message about our values as a community by voting for Jillian Gilchrest and other Democratic candidates on Tuesday, November 6.
West Hartford, CT