Wednesday, September 20 , 2017, 7:00 am | Fair 54º

 
 
 
 

Joe Guzzardi: Feigned Outrage Over Donald Trump’s Election Commission

Shortly after his November upset election win, President Donald Trump said that had it not been for what he described as “millions of people who voted illegally,” he and not defeated Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton would have won the popular vote.

In May, to find out what’s what on election fraud, Trump signed an executive order that created the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The fur started flying even before the commission’s first meeting convened.

Although the number of balking states is about 45, the #NeverTrump blue states have been the most vociferous in their insistence that requesting complete public data about who’s on the voting roles is presidential overreach.

Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, called on states to boycott the commission. He called Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the commission co-chairman, “the king of voter suppression” and said his participation makes the commission “a sham.”

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla followed Ho’s lead, adamantly refused to cooperate with the commission, and claimed that its true purpose is to distract from the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Russia raises its ugly head again!

The list of objections levied against the nascent commission is long and suggests that Trump, Kobach and his co-chairman, Vice President Mike Pence, have sinister motivations. Kobach represents a particular problem for the resistance.

Routinely and disparagingly referred to as an immigration hardliner, Kobach has since 2010 alleged that despite laws that prohibit them from voting, illegal aliens are nevertheless participants at the ballot box. Eventually, Kansas passed legislation that required voters to show proof of citizenship — a simple enough request, but one that infuriates civil rights groups and the anti-Trump crowd.

In his book, Who’s Counting? How Fraudsters and Bureaucrats Put Your Vote at Risk, Virginia attorney Hans von Spakovsky — a former Justice Department official, former Federal Election Commission member and Trump committee appointee — found that anywhere from 2 percent to more than 6 percent of noncitizens vote in elections, which translates from a couple hundred thousand to more than a million votes, enough to be the deciding factor in close races.

At least some of the air has gone out of the balloon of the pious voters’ rights protectors. Recently, the Washington Examiner reported that the voting information that they’re so passionately dedicated to keeping out of the commission’s hands is readily for sale to anyone who can come up with the money to buy it.

Von Spakovsky noted that the commission is asking for publicly available voter registration and other information that political parties and candidates routinely request from state secretaries of states.

As an example, according to its website, Virginia sells voters’ full names, residence addresses, mailing address, genders, dates of birth, registration date, date last registration form received, registration status, locality, precinct, voting districts, voter identification numbers, election date, election type, and whether the voter voted in-person or absentee. Yet Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe vowed not to share the identical information with the commission.

For his part, Kobach wonders what the fuss is about. In the questionnaire sent to the secretaries, they’re given the opportunity to suggest improvements. And Trump wonders why, if there’s nothing to hide, the states are so resistant.

Trump and Kobach raise sensible questions that deserve, but won’t get, honest answers

— Joe Guzzardi is a senior writing fellow for Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) who now lives in Pittsburgh. He can be reached at [email protected], or follow him on Twitter: @joeguzzardi19. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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