Kris Kobach, the ‘King of Voter Suppression,’ Will Lead Trump’s Sham Voter Fraud Commission. Be Afraid, Very Afraid.

President Trump signed an executive order yesterday forming a commission to investigate voter fraud and voter suppression after repeatedly claiming, without evidence, that the United States has a “major problem” with illegal voting.

In response to the executive order, the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project immediately filed a Freedom of Information Act request demanding that the government release any “evidence” it has to support President Trump’s claims of voter fraud. Too often in our country’s history, accusations of voter fraud have been used to justify unnecessary and unconstitutional restrictions on the right to vote.

I sat down with Dale Ho, director of the ACLU Voting Rights Project, to discuss the potential impact of the commission and what Americans can do to protect one of the most fundamental rights in our democracy. Below is a slightly edited version of our conversation.

What was your first thought when the news broke today about President Trump’s executive order on election integrity?

Dale Ho: That this was the first step in a plan to suppress voting in this country. There is no evidence that we have a problem with election integrity. You can tell that this is a sham commission just by the appointment of Kris Kobach, someone who has devoted much of his professional life to suppressing the vote, to vice-chair. It’s a circus show, designed to undermine confidence in our system and to reach a pre-determined result and to justify laws that make it harder for people to register and vote as a result.

Is this preoccupation with voter fraud new to the 2016 election and Donald Trump?

The American people should demand that elected officials and election administrators not participate in this phony commission.

Ho: No, not at all. There was a similar wild goose chase to root out voter fraud during the George W. Bush administration. It was a five-year investigation nationwide that cost millions of dollars and turned up a few dozen reported instances of fraud over a period of time in which hundreds of millions of ballots was cast. It was a political agenda that led to the improper firings of a number of United States attorneys. It was one of the biggest scandals of the George W. Bush administration, and it eventually resulted in the resignation in disgrace of Alberto Gonzalez as attorney general.

We’ve been down this road before. People have looked for this fraud; it’s not there. What we’ve gotten instead are politicized witch hunts that end in disgrace. I expect nothing different here.

As the commission begins to carry out its investigation, what do we need to watch out for?

Ho: First, we need to watch out for any discussion about changing the “motor voter” law. Passed in 1993, motor voter standardizes voter registration practices around the country. It ensures that anyone who interacts with the DMV or another government agency has the opportunity to register to vote. It’s made the system simple and uniform.

Efforts to tinker with that without any evidence of fraud would be a huge problem. We know that Kobach has a plan to change the motor voter law. The documents that outline the plan were photographed in his arms when he was interviewing for homeland security secretary. There’s no real inquiry happening here; the outcome and policy recommendations are already determined. And it’s going to be to try and change the motor voter law so that instead of this uniform and simple system that we have nationwide, we’ll have the disaster of voter suppression that Kobach has enacted in Kansas.

The ACLU’s Voting Rights Project has a long history with Kris Kobach. Tell us about it.

In a democracy, you can either compete for these votes or you can try to suppress them. The latter is Mr. Kobach’s strategy.

Ho: Kris Kobach is the king of voter suppression. He has an obsession with trying to show that there is widespread cheating in our elections when there isn’t. In Kansas, he’s instituted a “Show Me Your Papers” law which requires people to show a birth certificate or passport when they register to vote. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, in a unanimous opinion by Judge Jerome Holmes, who was appointed by George W. Bush, found that Kobach had engaged in “mass denial of a fundamental right” by blocking 18,000 motor voter applicants from registering to vote.

After he was ordered to fix that problem, Kobach said fine, I’ll let those voters vote in federal elections, but I’m not going to let them vote in state and local elections. We had to go back into court and this time, a state judge said Kobach had no authority to separate Kansas’ election system into a bizarre two-tiered system where some people could vote for president, but not governor. Kobach tried to justify these laws by saying that there is widespread voter fraud. The 10th Circuit called that “pure speculation.”

In yet another case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said that Kobach had “precious little record evidence” of noncitizen voting. So this is a person who shamelessly spreads a myth of widespread voter fraud, has no evidence to back it up, and uses it as a justification for laws which suppress voting. One out of seven people who’ve tried to register in Kansas since his “Show Me Your Papers” law went into effect have been blocked from registering to vote.

It’s been a complete disaster in Kansas and it’s obvious he’s trying to replicate that disaster nationwide. It’s an effort to freeze the electorate in place. It disproportionately affects young people, people who register for the first time. Half of the people in Kansas who have been blocked by this law are under the age of 30. This is a voter suppression plot.

You mentioned freezing the electorate in place. The United States is a country that is rapidly becoming more and more diverse. Can you talk about how voter suppression efforts disproportionately impact people of color?

Ho: We know that the electorate is changing. People of color are growing, not just in terms of their numbers but in terms of the rate at which they participate in the elections. And that may have consequences in terms of who wins elections. In a democracy, you can either compete for these votes or you can try to suppress them. The latter is Mr. Kobach’s strategy. In the case we are litigating in Kansas, his own expert found that African-Americans, who are 6 percent of the citizen voting pool in Kansas, represent 18 percent of the people who lack documents like a birth certificate or passport. So we know it’s going to have a racially disproportionate effect and that’s Kris Kobach’s own expert telling us so.

What can the public do to advocate for voting rights and hold elected officials accountable?

We’ve been down this road before. People have looked for this fraud; it’s not there.

Ho: First the American people should demand that elected officials and election administrators not participate in this phony commission. The only thing that participating in this commission will do is lend a person’s credibility to a sham process, unless or until Kris Kobach is removed as the vice-chair. Secondly, people should demand that no changes be made to the motor voter law. It’s one of the most important laws in our country. Attempts to undermine it will hinder Americans’ ability to exercise the most fundamental right in our democracy. And finally, we have to talk about what is really wrong with voting in the United States: We have one of the worst voter turnout rates in the world. Our democracy’s weakness is that there are so many eligible people who don’t make it to the polls, not that we have ineligible people trying to break into the system. If we want to enhance election integrity, we should focus on ensuring that everyone who wants to participate can.

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Richard Milam

I've had the misfortune of living in Kansas under the Brownback/Kobach regime. No one seems to mention the lawsuit that was filed to gain access to the vote count in the gubernatorial election. These are public records and and a professor of statistics requested them because the vote didn't make sense. Kobach fought it. He has experience with voter fraud but protecting it, not preventing it.

Carole

What happened to the secret ballot? Kobach was quoted in the NYTimes that voter registration, voting records, social security numbers and other personal information on citizens (birth certificates, passports, etc.) would be made public. How can that be legal?? What happened to individual privacy?

Barbara Batchelor

I agree there is no evidence of voter fraud, but there is a lot of evidence that the "integrity" of our elections is being undermined in many ways. There are the Voter ID laws being passed throughout the country that are too often designed to eliminate legitimate voters. There is crosschecking which seems to be designed for a similar purpose. There are the very suspicious elimination of polling places around the country that are causing such long lines that many people are not able to wait long enough to vote. Then there are the unverifiable black box voting machines many counties are using that, well, who knows what's happening with them. Why can't citizens who are prevented from voting by any of these means start a class action suit against their counties or states for undermining their civil rights?

Anonymous

Hmmm.. what about Andrew Spieles the James Madison student who was affiliated with the Democratic Party who was convicted of 18 counts of voter fraud in Virginia. That's one example of sound evidence. Its much more evidence than the Dems have concerning any collusion by the Trump Campaign. It appears to me that the ACLU as well as all these democratic governors who don't want to work with Trumps commission have something to hide and are more concerned about keeping the "right" to vote for the deceased and illegals then ensuring our elections are fair and without fraud. The question you really should be asking yourselves is when did the ACLU become just another political arm full of Hacks for the Democratic Party and not an organization more concerned about law, justice, and the constitution?

PVG

My letter to the President:

Mr. President,

As you may be aware, Arizona has rejected the request by your Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to hand over the personal information of Arizona voters.

Our Secretary of State did what is right and appropriate under the laws of Arizona to withhold the information that the Commission requested, and I fully support her decision.

Not only was the request from Kris Kobach an example of federal overreaching to an extreme, the goal to compile voter information from all 50 states is without question the most asinine idea to come from an "Advisory Commission". As our Secretary points out, "many cyber security experts have come forward to warn the dangers of all 50 state’s data aggregated in one database". This is especially true at a time when nefarious foreign actors are actively engaged in cyber warfare against the United States.

Not only does the Commission omit any assurances about the security of information it is seeking to collect, the Commission boldly states that the information will be made available to the public. This is outrageous! Anyone smarter than a gnat knows that 'election integrity' would be highly compromised by such stupidity.

As for the Commission itself, much like your other baseless claims and conspiracy theories, there is absolutely no justification for a federal investigation into non-existent 'widespread voter fraud' or 'millions of illegal votes'. Clearly, your commission is nothing more than a McCarthyist attempt to gather information that will be used NOT for the improvement of election integrity, but for your own partisan and illegal manipulation of future elections.

Thanks to Mr. Kobach's outrageous request, the American people now recognize the Commission as the deceitful and partisan, if not incompetent, syndicate that it is.

Your duty, sir, should be on protecting our elections from foreign interference and partisan gerrymandering, and ensuring that all Americans are able to vote freely in elections without intimidation or unnecessary barriers. Your focus should NOT be on cooking up a crooked 'commission' to investigate the people of your own country in an effort to undermine our political and personal freedoms.

Regards,
PVG

Sent July 5, 2017 9:00 AM to wh.gov

Jack

There Are MILLIONS of "ILLEGAL Undocumented Immigrants" in American and thousands upon thousands of “Known VICTIMS and their FAMILIES KILLED” by ILLEGAL Immigrants in America. Yet you do NOT think there was any Voting Fraud in this Country. I do NOT Believe your False News Articles. America can NOT Protect its Citizens and its Borders, and you think there was NO Voting Fraud. I Believe there was MASS VOTING FRAUD in America, just as there is MASS MURDERS and KILLINGS of Americans and their FAMILIES by "ILLEGAL Undocumented Immigrants. Thank God for President Trump.

Please Forward this message below to ALL AMERICAN CITIZENS TO SAVE AMERICA.
Please SUPPORT VICTIMS and FAMILIES KILLED & MURDERED by ILLEGAL undocumented immigrants in America. STOP SANCTUARY CITIES. Sanctuary cities are UNSAFE and UNHEALTHY for the WELFARE of American Citizens. STOP DACA. Support Border WALL for SAFETY. Please Support ALIPAC, FAIR, OJJPAC.

Ann Coulter's book "Adios America" SHOULD HAVE BEEN WRITTEN YEARS AGO! Ann Coulter is a REAL COURAGEOUS Woman EXPOSING the TRUTH! I am waiting for Someone to PROVE Ann Coulter Wrong in her book. What a SHAMEFUL TRAGEDY for American Citizens! This Country can NOT Protect its own citizens!

President Donald TRUMP is More of a Man than a lot of COWARD POLITICIANS and JOURNALISTS who do NOT PROTECT American Citizens and their FAMILIES, and Journalists who do NOT Report the TRUTH! American Citizens have been getting KILLED and ASSAULTED for YEARS before Donald TRUMP even thought of running for President. Those US VICTIMS and their FAMILIES WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN. THANK GOD FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP.
Those Victims KILLED will NEVER be Forgotten and Justice will be Done.
Why does Israel have a WALL? Try telling Israel to Tear Down the WALL.

WE NEED HELP to SUPPORT U.S. VICTIMS & FAMILIES KILLED by ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS in AMERICA.

Please tell American Citizens that:
1) Those ILLEGAL undocumented immigrants, and many Legal immigrants, SHOULD TAKE THE JOBS, CAREERS, Opportunities, and BUSINESSES of DEMOCRATS, and other People, WHO SUPPORT ILLEGAL undocumented immigration, and Sanctuary Cities, in America!

2) DEMOCRATS and Other PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT "ILLEGAL" UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRATION AND SANCTUARY CITIES ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATHS, ASSAULTS, LOSS OF BUSINESSES AND CAREERS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS.
There were (are) American Businesses that Hire and USE "ILLEGAL UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS" because they SAVE MONEY, because the Businesses pay NO TAXES, NO WORKERS COMPENSATION, NO HEALTH INSURANCE--All in VIOLATION OF Federal, States, and City LAWS.

The VICTIMS & their FAMILIES KILLED by ILLEGAL UNDOCUMENTED Immigrants Should be Compensated. Sanctuary Cities and the Politicians that SUPPORT them SHOULD BE LEGALLY SUED! PLEASE SUPPORT VICTIMS & their FAMILIES & CHILDREN!

I hereby declared: Do NOT Spend TAX Payers Money to support any ILLEGAL undocumented immigrants and Sanctuary Cities. I hope its Not TOO LATE for AMERICA to STOP ILLEGAL UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRATION in this Country. America can NOT PROTECT its Citizens and its BORDER. Please STOP Sanctuary Cities, and SUPPORT VICTIMS. Please SUPPORT: ALIPAC, FAIR, OJJPAC.

Jack

There Are MILLIONS of "ILLEGAL Undocumented Immigrants" in American and thousands upon thousands of “Known VICTIMS and their FAMILIES KILLED” by ILLEGAL Immigrants in America. Yet you do NOT think there was any Voting Fraud in this Country. I do NOT Believe your False News Articles. America can NOT Protect its Citizens and its Borders, and you think there was NO Voting Fraud. I Believe there was MASS VOTING FRAUD in America, just as there is MASS MURDERS and KILLINGS of Americans and their FAMILIES by "ILLEGAL Undocumented Immigrants. Thank God for President Trump.

Please Forward this message below to ALL AMERICAN CITIZENS TO SAVE AMERICA.
Please SUPPORT VICTIMS and FAMILIES KILLED & MURDERED by ILLEGAL undocumented immigrants in America. STOP SANCTUARY CITIES. Sanctuary cities are UNSAFE and UNHEALTHY for the WELFARE of American Citizens. STOP DACA. Support Border WALL for SAFETY. Please Support ALIPAC, FAIR, OJJPAC.

Ann Coulter's book "Adios America" SHOULD HAVE BEEN WRITTEN YEARS AGO! Ann Coulter is a REAL COURAGEOUS Woman EXPOSING the TRUTH! I am waiting for Someone to PROVE Ann Coulter Wrong in her book. What a SHAMEFUL TRAGEDY for American Citizens! This Country can NOT Protect its own citizens!

President Donald TRUMP is More of a Man than a lot of COWARD POLITICIANS and JOURNALISTS who do NOT PROTECT American Citizens and their FAMILIES, and Journalists who do NOT Report the TRUTH! American Citizens have been getting KILLED and ASSAULTED for YEARS before Donald TRUMP even thought of running for President. Those US VICTIMS and their FAMILIES WILL NOT BE FORGOTTEN. THANK GOD FOR PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP.
Those Victims KILLED will NEVER be Forgotten and Justice will be Done.
Why does Israel have a WALL? Try telling Israel to Tear Down the WALL.

WE NEED HELP to SUPPORT U.S. VICTIMS & FAMILIES KILLED by ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS in AMERICA.

Please tell American Citizens that:
1) Those ILLEGAL undocumented immigrants, and many Legal immigrants, SHOULD TAKE THE JOBS, CAREERS, Opportunities, and BUSINESSES of DEMOCRATS, and other People, WHO SUPPORT ILLEGAL undocumented immigration, and Sanctuary Cities, in America!

2) DEMOCRATS and Other PEOPLE WHO SUPPORT "ILLEGAL" UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRATION AND SANCTUARY CITIES ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEATHS, ASSAULTS, LOSS OF BUSINESSES AND CAREERS OF AMERICAN CITIZENS.
There were (are) American Businesses that Hire and USE "ILLEGAL UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRANTS" because they SAVE MONEY, because the Businesses pay NO TAXES, NO WORKERS COMPENSATION, NO HEALTH INSURANCE--All in VIOLATION OF Federal, States, and City LAWS.

The VICTIMS & their FAMILIES KILLED by ILLEGAL UNDOCUMENTED Immigrants Should be Compensated. Sanctuary Cities and the Politicians that SUPPORT them SHOULD BE LEGALLY SUED! PLEASE SUPPORT VICTIMS & their FAMILIES & CHILDREN!

I hereby declared: Do NOT Spend TAX Payers Money to support any ILLEGAL undocumented immigrants and Sanctuary Cities. I hope its Not TOO LATE for AMERICA to STOP ILLEGAL UNDOCUMENTED IMMIGRATION in this Country. America can NOT PROTECT its Citizens and its BORDER. Please STOP Sanctuary Cities, and SUPPORT VICTIMS. Please SUPPORT: ALIPAC, FAIR, OJJPAC.

Anonymous

More hysteria from the left. You need an ID to get a cell phone, open a bank account, or even a job. Voting...we trust you say who you are.
The annual resurrection miracles which occur in November is testimony to that.

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