Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that widespread voter fraud caused him to lose the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by almost 3 million votes, even while he won the presidency with an electoral college victory. Without evidence, Trump tells lawmakers 3 million to 5 million illegal ballots cost him the popular vote.
In pursuit of the delusions of our always insecure egomaniacal Twitter-troll-in-chief, Donald Trump today issued an “Executive Order Establishing of Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.”
Yeah, that’s not at all what this executive order is about. It is about Trump trying to validate his delusions that he won the popular vote but for voter fraud by millions of Americans. It’s time to invoke the 25th Amendment rather than humor this madman.
The Hill gets this right. Trump signs order launching voter fraud investigation:
The commission will be chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will serve as vice chair, the White House announced during Thursday’s press briefing.
So a GOP led commission with Kris Kobach, the GOP’s dark prince of voter suppressions efforts serving as vice chair. Oh hell no!
This commission has zero credibility and no self-respecting Democrat or election integrity expert or academic should agree to serve on this farce of a commission. Boycott this commission.
It will “study the registration and voting processes used in Federal elections” as well as “fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting,” the order says.
In other words, the GOP Myth of Voter Fraud that has been repeatedly debunked by study after study, and the Secretaries of State of the 50 states who say they don’t know ‘of any evidence’ backing Trump’s claims about the 2016 election.
Kobach, who served as an aide in Trump’s transition, has previously claimed “in excess of a million” people voted illegally in the 2016 election.
“We do know that there’s a very large number, and it will be impossible to ever know what the exact number is of non-citizens voting,” Kobach told Fox Business Network in January. “I think it probably was [millions]. … If you take the whole country, I think it is probably in excess of a million, if you take the entire country for sure.”
Kobach cited no evidence supporting his claim but said it was just “a projection.”
Rick Hasen at Election Law Blog is damning in his Thoughts on President Trump’s Executive Order Establishing “Voter Fraud” Commission:
The President has just issued the promised executive order. A few notes:
- Although it broadly states a goal to look at public confidence in the election process, it seems to do this only by demanding a study of supposed voter fraud (not, as had been rumored) voter suppression.
- This breaks with the tradition of Carter-Ford, Carter-Baker, and Bauer-Ginsberg of having two well respected bipartisan leaders in charge of the Commission. It is not only led by the Republican vice president, but reports suggest that Kris Kobach will be the vice chair. (The EO does not list the members of the up-to-15 member commission.) That alone makes this commission suspect. The presence of some members of the Commission who have made it their mission in life to exaggerate or lie about the extent that voter fraud is a problem in this country today as an excuse to make it harder to register and vote makes this Commission illegitimate to begin with.
- It is not clear whether any serious Democrats or election professionals or academics who study election administration will be involved in the effort. Many have called for a boycott of the Commission, and that could well happen.
- What is the purpose of the Commission? It does not appear aimed at studying voter fraud in a serious way. We already know that the amount of voter fraud in the last election was very small. Very very small. There is absolutely no evidence supporting the President’s outlandish claim that 3 million or more non-citizen voters voted in the 2016 elections. So the point is either to give the President validation for his outlandish claims and/or to provide a pretext for passing more laws to make it harder to register and to vote.
- As far as pretext goes, the thing I’m most concerned about is using the report’s “conclusions” as an excuse for Congress to pass new legislation making it harder to register and vote, such as repealing voter friendly portions of the 1993 NVRA (motor-voter law). I suspect this is the end game. (We may get some insight into this if and when Kobach’s notes on how to kill the NVRA are released.)
- This is not a good day for those who believe we should have a system where all eligible voters, but only eligible voters, can easily cast a ballot that will be fairly and accurately counted.
Rick Hasen adds in an earlier post:
Not sure what Democrat or election professional would be on a commission with Kobach or with Ken Blackwell—this is not a commission designed to ferret out the truth given their track record. But I am extremely disappointed to see EAC Commissioner Christie McCormick on this commission, lending the EAC’s credibility to a farcical effort.
Back on January 25, when the idea for this “commission” was first floated, I laid down some markers at Slate for what a fair commission would look like, and the need for a shadow commission if Trump did not follow fundamental rules of fairness:
First, members of the commission should be bipartisan and well-respected on all sides. This was the model of the Carter-Ford commission that investigated problems with the 2000 election, the Carter-Baker Commission that investigated problems with the 2004 election, and the Presidential Commission on Election Administration that was led by leading Democratic lawyer Bob Bauer and leading Republican lawyer Ben Ginsberg and that investigated problems with long lines and election administration after the 2012 election.* Legal commentator Andrew Cohen has suggested a commission headed by retired Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, David Souter, and John Paul Stevens, with a staff led by former U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. (All are Republicans, though Souter and Stevens leaned pretty liberal when they were on the court.)
Second, the commission should have professional staff with experience dealing with election administration aimed at searching for the truth through an examination of credible evidence. The Bauer-Ginsberg commission’s research director was Nate Persily, a Stanford law and political science professor who is known for his careful and even-handed research. Back in 2000 there were few political scientists and law professors studying the details of election administration. Now there are many and a large set of peer-reviewed studies on these issues, including questions of voter fraud. There are plenty of ways to try to examine these issues, and the precise claim of President Trump that 3 million to 5 million votes could have been cast illegally in a massive conspiracy without detection should be probed in a fair and scientific way…..
There’s a lot more in there. I expect few of any of these markers will be met.
The only good news since I wrote this piece? The Administration’s credibility is so low that few except the true believers are likely to believe anything produced by the likely worthless report.