Federal judge gives Trump’s fraudulent ‘voter fraud’ commission the go ahead

A federal judge on Monday cleared the way for President Trump’s fraudulent “voter fraud” commission to proceed in gathering personal data on the nation’s voters. The 35 page order and opinion is HERE (.pdf).

The New York Times reports, Judge Clears Way for Trump’s Voter Fraud Panel to Collect Data:

[Trump’s fraudulent “voter fraud” commission], which was created after the president falsely claimed that millions of illegal votes cost him the popular vote in 2016, has come under siege from many organizations that have filed lawsuits accusing the commission of violating federal privacy laws. The judge’s decision on Monday delivered a setback to the opposition, which has objected to the commission’s expansive request for the personal and public data about the country’s 200 million voters.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center, which filed the suit, sought to stop the commission from acquiring the voter data, claiming that the panel should have conducted a privacy impact assessment before asking states for the personal information. But the judge, Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of Federal District Court, said the panel did not qualify as a federal agency, so it was not required to conduct and publish a privacy assessment.

So this is a narrow ruling based on a statutory technicality, not a sweeping endorsement of the commission.

The Kansas City Star adds: [T]he judge in the EPIC court case did note in her ruling that the request for voter information is not a binding demand to the states. “Defendants’ request for information is just that — a request — and there is no evidence that they have sought to turn the request into a demand, or to enforce the request by any means,” U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote.

Marc Rotenberg, the president of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, said his group would continue to closely examine the commission.

“The commission cannot evade privacy obligations by playing a shell game with the nation’s voting records,” Mr. Rotenberg said in a statement.

GOP voter suppression specialist and co-chair of Trump’s fraudulent “voter fraud” commission, Kris Kobach, said states will be sent a new letter describing how to submit voter information following a federal court ruling this week. After legal victory, Kobach says states will be sent new letter for voter information:

Kobach told The Kansas City Star that he expected those instructions to be issued Tuesday.

“There are more than 30 states that already indicated they intended to provide this publicly available information to the commission,” Kobach said. “So I anticipate that that will start happening soon.”

* * *

The Brennan Center for Justice has tracked states’ responses to Kobach’s voter information request. According to a map and research released by the center, “21 states and the District of Columbia have declined to provide data.”

Eight states have imposed conditions, according to the center, which mostly includes fee requirements. The center’s tracking also found 17 states, including Kansas and Missouri, that have said they will provide data “not shielded under state law.”

The Electronic Privacy Information Center said in its lawsuit that the data request “violates the privacy rights of millions of Americans.”

The commission scrapped an earlier method it planned to use for the data transfer in the midst of the EPIC court case. It told the judge the White House would be responsible for collecting and storing the voter roll data.

Yeah, that should make you rest easy at night.

The Washington Post recently editorialized, Trump’s election commission is fully transparent about its purpose: Voter obstruction:

AT THE inaugural meeting of President Trump’s already embattled voter integrity commission last week, one member, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, expressed relief that despite bitter controversy over the panel’s mission, at least no one had questioned the legitimacy of the 2016 presidential election. A few hours later, the commission’s vice chairman, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, questioned the legitimacy of the 2016 presidential election.

In an appearance on MSNBC, Mr. Kobach, a Republican titan of voter suppression who has been repeatedly sued for his relentless efforts to cull voters from the rolls of his home state, was asked if he believed that Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes, as the official tally indicates. “You know,” said Mr. Kobach, “we may never know the answer to that question.”

In fact, not a speck of evidence exists to cast doubt on the official tally of the popular vote, nor, for that matter, on the electoral vote. Still, the offhand remark was in keeping with Mr. Kobach’s years-long effort, along with that of other Republicans, to erode public confidence in American elections to provide a pretext for tough state laws whose real goal is to obstruct voting by minorities and young people, who tend to support Democrats.

Formed by Mr. Trump after he falsely asserted that 3 to 5 million votes were cast illegally in the 2016 election, the commission includes members, in addition to Mr. Kobach, known for their histories of voter obstruction. One, former Ohio secretary of state J. Kenneth Blackwell, a Republican, is notorious for trying to reject registration forms submitted on paper that was too thin, and for trying to impede voter registration drives. Another, Hans Von Spakovsky, a former Justice Department official, led a failed attempt to purge voter rolls in Missouri.

[V]oter lists nationwide must be kept clean and up-to-date. But glitches, inconsistencies and double registrations — often caused by people who move from one state to another, or whose names remain on the rolls posthumously — are not the sinister indication of fraud that champions of suppression like Mr. Kobach pretend. The relentless suggestions to the contrary, even in the absence of proof of any widespread illegal voting, has had the intended effect: Americans’ confidence in the honesty of elections has fallen steadily for almost a decade, according to a Gallup poll, and sharply last year as Mr. Trump harped on alleged vote “rigging.”

An honest election commission would make constructive suggestions for systemic improvements while at the same time debunking the patently phony idea that fraud is common. In this case, however, Mr. Kobach and his allies have an all-too-transparent agenda.

Or as conservative blogger Jennifer Rubin of the Post points out, Kobach is a ‘useful idiot’ for Russia (excerpt):

Even beyond Kobach’s babbling and the danger he will rationalize voter-suppression measures based on non-existent voter fraud, Kobach and others on the commission play the role of useful idiot for Russia when they speak this way. After all, Russia’s larger plan is to discredit Western democracies and treat our open and free elections as no more legitimate than Vladimir Putin’s rigged system. “It’s the latest example of Trump’s apparatchiks trying to curry favor with the boss by telling him what he wants to hear, no matter how outrageous or outlandish,” observes Thomas Wright of the Brookings Institution. “Trump and Kobach are ignoring the very real threat to U.S. democracy and inventing one that serves their own personal interests. Meanwhile, the Russian threat to American democracy gathers unhindered.”

And that in a nutshell is the problem: We have an administration that finds it more helpful to fan Russian propaganda than to speak simple truths about America’s democratic system and Russia’s corrupt thugocracy. Supporting Russian propaganda now seems part and parcel of the commission’s assignment. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., remarked to me, “The far right has never seemed to care about facts in their crusade to keep certain people from voting, but this astonishing denial of the election outcome stands out as the kind of phoniness that undermines the country’s faith in the very democratic institutions our system is built on. This is nonsense, but it’s dangerous nonsense.”

Trump, and now Kobach, do Putin’s handiwork far more effectively than he ever dreamed. Along with the Trump flunkies at Fox News, they take Russia’s side in its assault on Western democracies’ free and fair elections. Frankly, if the members of the commission had backbone and principles they’d denounce Kobach’s comments and do their best to demonstrate that there is no systematic fraud in our electoral system.

If any of the commission members had an ounce of self-respect, they would simply resign, stating the obvious that the commission is a fraud.

29 thoughts on “Federal judge gives Trump’s fraudulent ‘voter fraud’ commission the go ahead”

  1. All or almost all of the data is public information that candidates and political organizations get now. We go down a dangerous path when we decide to withhold public information for political purposes or because we question the sincerity or motives of the requestor.
    In the end, the info will be released because that is the law and politics does not trump (No pun intended) the law. In addition, Kobach has agreed to not release individual data. Kiss the privacy excuse good bye.

    • So what you’re saying is a federal firearms database is a good idea, too, right? That we shouldn’t question the motives of having one.

      Because that’s what you’re saying. We should just give our personal information to the Federal Government because it said so.

      Don’t you teach Justice Studies or something? Shouldn’t you know that to investigate a crime you need something to show there may be a crime?

      Or was the country making “furtive moves”? Show us all your evidence or STFU.

      If this was the Obama White House asking you’d need your diaper changed by now.

      Voter suppression is un-American, and you are a fake patriot.

      • As always, you evade addressing my point and try to change the topic to something that suits you. Presumedly because you have no good answer for my point.

        So if you would like me to address your comment, re-read my post and comment on it and then we can move on to yours. I learned that polite procedure in kindergarten, NOT all-day, but it is never too late for you to learn it.

        • Touche’, John! That type of response drives Tom crazy because it goes right to the heart of his argument methodology. Don’t hold your breath waiting for him to answer your original question…’taint gonna’ happen!

        • You said “We go down a dangerous path when we decide to withhold public information for political purposes or because we question the sincerity or motives of the requestor.”

          And I said if it was Obama asking, you’d soil yourself.

          There was nothing ambiguous about my comments. I did not stutter.

          You are telling American’s that they should not question the federal government.

          So, cute try at weaseling out of your own statement.

          • “There was nothing ambiguous about my comments. I did not stutter.”

            Well, Tom, I give you a 6.5 out of 10 in how effectively you managed to, once again, weasel out of directly answering his question. A valiant effort, but ultimately, and inadequate effort.

          • Once again, you evade addressing my point and try to change the topic to something that suits you. Presumedly because you have no good answer for my point.

            So if you would like me to address your comment, re-read my post and comment on it and then we can move on to yours. I learned that polite procedure in kindergarten, NOT all-day, but it is never too late for you to learn it.

          • Adorable. You think I’m debating you.

            You’re telling the citizens of Arizona to do whatever the Federal Government tells them to do, no matter what.

            I’m pointing out your hypocrisy. My comment stands.

            And FYI, whining about politeness is a tactic to discredit opposition. Grow up.

          • And yet again, you evade addressing my point and try to change the topic to something that suits you. Presumedly because you have no good answer for my point.

            So if you would like me to address your comment, re-read my post and comment on it and then we can move on to yours. I learned that polite procedure in kindergarten, NOT all-day, but it is never too late for you to learn it.

          • Okay, I’ll give this a try, but I don’t think it will help your cause.

            Your comment says it’s the law and we have to follow the law or we’re on a slippery slope no matter what the law is or the motives of the law, and your friend from SB 1070 Kobach won’t release my individual data so the privacy issue is put to rest.

            So it’s the law to release my personal data, and giving my personal data to the Federal Government puts the privacy issue to rest.

            Did I get it that time? Giving my personal data to the Federal Government is somehow not an invasion of my privacy?

            Because giving my personal data to the Federal Government seems a little like I’m giving up my privacy.

            Make sense to you? You are sharing my individual information, and somehow saying that’s not a privacy issue?

            That makes zero sense to me, but if I did answer your question properly in a NOT all-Day way, can you tell me where the evidence is that shows 3 million people voted illegally?

      • “So what you’re saying is a federal firearms database is a good idea, too, right?”

        That is actually funny, Tom. You are using something you approve of (the BATF approval list for firearms sales) to justify not having something you disapprove of (the collection of voter information). It’s a little bit Orwellian…

        “Show us all your evidence or STFU.”

        And like most leftists, you are big on shutting other people up. I suppose it would be easier on you if you didn’t have people constantly pointing out the inadequacy of many of your positions on the issues.

        “…and you are a fake patriot.”

        Ah, yes. The patriot issue again. I forgot for a little bit that you have appointed yourself the gatekeeper of “patriotism” on this blog. And that’s okay if you want to do that…I don’t think anyone really cares. But if you want to be taken seriously, you really should find out what the word means before you keep embarassing yourself like you are.

    • Not bad for responsiveness. If your position is that nobody should get voting data, then while I disagree with you, you are being intellectually consistent. But I never heard you object to much of the same data going to the political parties, newspapers and candidates.

      If you are ok with them getting the data but not a government commission, then you are being inconsistent and making the criteria for release the “gut feelings” of government employees, which is bad and open to abuse and political games.

      There should be one standard for all. Either make the data private and only available by subpoena for judicial and law enforcement reasons or make it open to anyone for non-commercial purposes, as it is now.

      • I’m against voter suppression more than anything else, and that’s the entire purpose of this exercise.

        Unless you can show some evidence for widespread in person voter fraud….

        • You cannot make the release criteria the subjective opinion of a bureaucrat concerning the requestor’s motives. You need an objective standard that applies to all and suposition is too open to abuse. If the requestor uses the information to break the law, then prosecute him or her.

  2. The “in person voter fraud” lie has been disproven over and over, including by right wing think tanks.

    Here’s a good rundown: https://www.brennancenter.org/publication/truth-about-voter-fraud.

    No one has ever shown any evidence that in person voter fraud happens on a scale greater than a handful of people. No one.

    Every year over a million people in the US die, so yeah, there’s going to be some dead people on the voter rolls, that isn’t evidence that someone voted for them.

    And every year, millions of people move and don’t “unregister”, that’s not evidence that they voted twice. In fact, dead people voting and voting twice is the easiest thing to prove, and it happens less often than people getting hit by lighting.

    The idea that 3 million people vote illegally defies critical thinking. 5 years in prison and a 10,000 dollar fine, who takes risks like that?

    And if you’re undocumented, you get deported. Do people really risk heat and rattlesnakes walking through the desert for 100 miles for a better life only to risk all by being removed from your job/family?

    And 3,000,000? Three million? Really?

    That’s more people than the populations of Wyoming, Alaska, Vermont, and North Dakota combined. Way more.

    So it’s mainly in California? Does anyone really believe there are no “patriots” in California that would call out something like that? California actually has millions of Republicans, it’s just a very big state with more Dems, but wouldn’t someone from the GOP have some proof?

    Someone from law enforcement? Wouldn’t they have “proof”?

    Kobach says he has proof based on people having the same or a similar name. Well, yeah, there’s an actor who has my name for one, and a few thousand others do, too.

    We have 320,000,000 million Americans, and there are only a few hundred common names, lots of them biblical, like David, Paul, John, and Jesus.

    Kobach zeroes in on certain names to show “proof”, though, like Jose and Juan, and he zeroes in on certain parts of the country, where they vote Dem.
    In person voter fraud, especially by immigrants, is a racist fantasy for losing the popular vote and a lie being used to suppress legal voting.

    Trump’s an idiot, he just can’t admit he’s only POTUS of the Electoral College, but the rest of the White House and GOP knows that voter fraud is a scam. They can’t win on the issues without gerrymandering, the electoral college, or voter suppression.

    We all share two things in common as American’s, we’re the children of immigrants and we’re free to vote our choice.

    This GOP/White House effort is un-American and disgusting.

    • There IS voter fraud. Usually committed by Republicans to prove it exists. Wasn’t right wing icon Ann Coulter guilty of the fraud?

    • No one has had possession of the alien file and the whole voter file. So, let’s see what happens.

      There won’t be any false matches that you are chanting about. It will be a perfect count, right out of the box.

      • I didn’t already know that Kobach has a long history of trying to purge legal voters from the rolls for either being brown or Dem I’d believe you.

        But it seems we’re going to spend millions trying to purge Dems, the ACLU and others will sue, Kobach will be shown to be the lying racist POS he’s always been.

        And I have a dollar that says when nothing turns up, you’ll still claim voter fraud.

        Which is a weird thing to whine about, since the White House, House, Senate, and over 30 states are under full GOP control.

        Maybe it’s the GOP that’s cheating, FalconNada.

        This thread, like Kobach’s work, is going nowhere.

        • I agree with you – I can’t imagine that they will find a very high number of matches on the alien file – but who knows? That’s why you do the research.

          And, you are right – that’s not where I have said the fraud is at.

          The fraud is thousands of early ballots being voted in garages of the harvesters in Arizona.

          Will Kobach do an indepth study of Arizona?

  3. beginning in colorado and now in other states democrats are de registering to protect their privacy. paul wyrick said it many years ago republicans benefit when as few people as possible vote. while elitist liberal snowflakes were worried about transgender bathrooms and the younger ones voting for clinton on the internet. crosscheck was kicking minority voters off the voter roles while obama administration watched or in a few cases said shame on you. naughty naughty! in detroit michigan 70,000 clinton votes were never counted. and more clinton voters kicked off the voter roles in wisconsin north carolina pennsylvania and florida. plus other states. I understand hillary clinton is righting a book titled what the f*ck happened? since nobody contributes to her slush fund foundation anymore. watch michael moor’s trumpland that tried to warn the clinton campaign ;but they new it all and laughed at moor’s warnings!

    • Hey Captain, if we wanted an update from Fox News we’d just read Trump’s tweets.

        • Nothing you posted was new, so I don’t think it’s an ignorance thing.

          For about the 1,000,000 time, lock her up. I don’t care.

          To battle the Trump administrations evil plans, I put my money where my mouth is and donate to Planned Parenthood, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the ACLU, all on auto pay.

          I may increase my donations to the ACLU.

          I can post online and talk to people all day, but they have lawyers with attitudes.

          Let me know if you have a better plan.

          • “…I put my money where my mouth is and donate to Planned Parenthood, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the ACLU, all on auto pay.”

            I think this is a great difference between us, Tom. I, too, put my money – and time – where my mouth is and contribute both to Doctors Without Borders, Feed the Children, the Red Cross, St. Mary’s Food Bank, The Salvation Army, St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital, The Humane Society, The World Wildlife Fund, and more than a dozen local family aid and animal welfare organizations. Further, I contribute about 35% of my total income, which is no small amount.

            You contribute out of anger and the hope of destroying something. I contribute with the hope I can help people and animals and make things better. That is sort of a strange juxtaposition, don’t you think? You a kind hearted leftie and me a hard hearted conservative. It does speak volumes about our differences…

          • sure do. the latino vote in arizona. give them candidates they can identify with. white working class give them candidates who address their issues.

  4. Don’t be silly, the results of their study would be posted. They are not going to post names and addresses. But, let me assure, these lists have long ago migrated into the mass marketing list industry. Many, many people have access to these lists. Every election cycle at least a hundred people end up with possession of the statewide voter list. A single jump drive can store the entire United States.

  5. Nowhere do they address the additional threat of publishing the information they gather. The original announcement said that the data they collected would be posted on a government website. From the inconvenience of ads aimed at us, to the extreme of identity theft – and for all the people who don’t want to be found because they were victims of hate crimes, stalkers, or domestic violence, or have a history of serving the country in undercover positions – I DON’T want my information published on any website!

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