Voter fraud: Why Trump’s commission died
Ding, dong, the White House’s “election integrity” commission is dead, said Miles Rapoport in The American Prospect. With a tweet, President Trump last week abruptly shut down the sham commission, created to justify Trump’s “ludicrous claim” that he lost the popular vote because 3 million to 5 million illegal immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton. The commission was ostensibly a fair-minded investigation into voter fraud but was nothing more than “a Trojan horse for a voter-suppression agenda.” Its co-chair, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, had spent his career trying, and failing, to prove that voter fraud is epidemic; he called for strict federal voter identification laws before the commission was even created. Luckily, both Republican and Democratic election officials saw through the charade, with 44 states refusing to comply with some or all of commission’s sweeping demands for information on voters, such as their Social Security numbers. The secretive commission was also buried in a “blizzard” of lawsuits, crippling its work out the gate.
“No voter should be happy about this,” said Michael Thielen, executive director of the Republican National Lawyers Association, in TheHill.com. Liberals derailed the commission’s work before it could even get started. Why were they so afraid of an inquiry into fraudulent voting by non-citizens? But while they’ve won this battle, liberals “may lose the war.” President Trump has charged the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) with taking over the commission’s investigation, and it will have far more power to cross-check voter rolls against its own immigration records. Let’s see what the agents find.
This fight will now get uglier, said Charles Stewart III in The Washington Post. When DHS compares voter lists with data on undocumented immigrants, it’s guaranteed to generate thousands of false positives from people sharing the same names and birth dates. A lot of people with names like Maria Rodriguez could end up being wrongly purged from voter rolls. There is already overwhelming evidence that voter fraud is vanishingly rare, said Jamelle Bouie in Slate.com. But Republicans see voter suppression as critical to holding on to power, so they are aggressively pushing state laws to make it harder for poor people and minorities who lean Democratic to vote. Last year, lawmakers in 31 states introduced 99 bills to restrict access to voter registration. Trump’s commission may be dead, but its spirit lives on. ■