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How Trump’s New Federal Commission Could Be Used To Suppress Legal Voters

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How Trump’s New Federal Commission Could Be Used To Suppress Legal Voters


Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.


President Donald Trump’s new commission on “election integrity” is drawing complaints from experts who continue to point out that no evidence exists for Trump’s ongoing claims of widespread voter fraud.

For years, conservative media have been overhyping evidence-free allegations of systemic voter fraud in the U.S., often as a pretense to argue for restrictive voter ID laws and other policies that inevitably suppress voting.

Following his surprising Electoral College win, Trump sought to explain away his popular vote loss by claiming he would have gotten the majority of votes had “millions” of illegal votes not been tallied for Clinton, a conspiracy theory that had been popularized by Alex Jones’ Infowars website.

This week, Trump signed an executive order forming a “Presidential Commission on Election Integrity,” in part to examine “improper voting, fraudulent voter registrations, and fraudulent voting,” as well as voter suppression. The vice chair of the commission is Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has repeatedly been criticized for his crusade over the issue.

While the move was predictably cheered by the usual suspects in conservative media outlets, experts on the issue are sounding the alarm, saying the commission is a solution in search of a problem and that it could be used to suppress legal votes.

“In general I think the commission is unnecessary,” University of Kentucky College of Law professor Joshua Douglas said via email. “We already know there is not much fraud in the system, and certainly not to the level that Trump has suggested. And having Mike Pence and Kris Kobach lead it means it will have no credibility whatsoever.”

He added, “Trump will no doubt try to use this commission to support further voter suppression measures. Instead we should be focusing on ways to make it easier, not harder, to vote.”

Lorraine Minnite, a Rutgers University professor and author of the 2010 book The Myth of Voter Fraud, said, “I think they want to try to create whatever kind of record they think they can create for a justification to propose amendments to tighten up and require nationwide what Kansas requires with proof of citizenship. And who knows what else they would dream up to make it hard to vote.”

She continued, “It is a pattern we have seen more flagrantly over the past 15 years to promote the idea that voter fraud is rampant in America. There are always some problems with a federal election, but there is just no evidence that voter fraud is rampant.”

Bill Schneider, a former CNN senior political analyst and current professor of public policy at George Mason University, said there “is just no evidence” to support claims of widespread voter fraud.

“What’s happening here is that Trump has an obsession,” Schneider said. “He can’t get over the fact that Hillary Clinton won a plurality. He wants to destroy that notion and establish the fact that he is the legitimate winner. He is taking every step he can to try to demonstrate that notion.”

Michael McDonald, director of the U.S. Election Project at the University of Florida — who has been involved in the ACLU’s legal action against Kobach – offered skepticism of the commission’s work.

“I’m skeptical given Trump’s recent statements, his firing of Comey,” McDonald said. “The integrity of this commission itself will be suspect because it likely won’t have the ability to look independently, or to look at Trump’s claims that there were 3 to 5 million illegal votes.”

The American Civil Liberties Union, which has filed several legal challenges in Kansas targeting Kobach’s efforts to limit voting rights and prosecute alleged fraudulent voters, said it has filed a Freedom of Information Act request “seeking information that the Trump administration is using as the basis for its voter fraud claims.”

“President Trump is attempting to spread his own fake news about election integrity,” Dale Ho, director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project, said in a statement about the commission. “Such claims have been widely debunked, but he is still trying to push his false reality on the American public. It is telling that the president’s choice to co-lead the commission is none other than Kris Kobach, one of the worst offenders of voter suppression in the nation today. If the Trump administration really cares about election integrity, it will divulge its supposed evidence before embarking on this commission boondoggle.”





  1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 14, 2017

    The more Trump disports himself like an ass publicly, opens his mouth with idiotic and childish tirades, and makes the most assinine appointments, the more dynamite sticks he places in his pants. Like some capitalist jihadist shouting “My Ego Is Most Great—Money Be Praised!!”, Trump is ready to destroy himself, as he runs madly up and down Pennsylvania Avenue.

    1. Eleanore Whitaker May 15, 2017

      I don’t know about you. But, I don’t think I can tolerate another year of Trump’s lies, deceptions, unfounded accusations and outright violations to the U.S. Constitution.

      He fired Comey to stop the investigation contrary to his ACT that he was going to fire a man with a 10 year term at the FBI. Now he wants Republicans to replace what is supposed to be a job ONLY apolitical people can handle.

      Why choose Big Oil Cornyn and not an FBI agent from within? Because he can’t buy any of the existing FBI agents and he can buy Cornyn like he bought Tillerson, McConnell, Ryan, Chaffetz, Nunes and Gowdy.

      1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 15, 2017

        I can’t take another week of Donald and Congress’ cowardice in light of affairs since last November. My quota of patience with Trump was already in the negative column the moment he opened his mouth in 2015.

  2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 14, 2017

    “In general I think the commission is unnecessary,” University of Kentucky College of Law professor Joshua Douglas said via email.

    Joshua, a law professor in Kentucky thinks a Trump Voting commission is unnecessary. Any underclassmen at any good university would be far more intelligent than the Kentucky Law professor concerning the matter. Let’s help the professot.

    The purpose is NOT to check for voter fraud, but simply would serve to try and appease Trump’s infantile insistence to understand why he was unpopular during the “real” voting, i.e., the “Popular Vote”!!

    Clearly, Trump understands the significance of a true reflection of the minds of voters, and he recognizes the artificial nature of an Electoral College “rigged” to carry on a Voting tradition which was dreamt up to conform to the wishes of slave-holding states.

    On this score, we can (gasp!) say that Trump has a better grasp than the professor of the significance of one system over the other. In the end though, Trump is motivated SOLELY by narcissism.

    1. Alejandrinacmiller May 15, 2017

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    2. Eleanore Whitaker May 15, 2017

      I so agree. It is far easier to rig the Electoral College than an entire election in 50 states. Yet, Trump continues to insist 2 million Americans voted illegally in 2016. Now, as usual, Mr. CEO of the United States of Trump will have to prove it.

      Watch how he backs off on this when he finds out his biggest targets will be people in the military who regulary move from state to state as part of their military careers.

      I had a high school friend I met in grade school who was what she called an “Army brat.” She was in my 6th grade class. Her father was sent to the midwest. She moved back to NJ when her father was reassaigned in 9th grade. She moved again when we were in junior year of high school and we stayed in touch for another 3 more military moves.

      I suppose Trump would consider her father guilty of voter fraud because he never once gave thought to alerting his voting districts of at least 5 moves in a decade?

      1. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 15, 2017

        The way you brilliantly describe this nuance of voting in the US, it would prove an impossible task for Trump to comprehend. Trump just doesn’t have the mental acuity, nor does he have the patience to think things through to cope with complex situations.

        Just a pathetic creature operating impulsively, with no forethought.

        1. Eleanore Whitaker May 16, 2017

          Thank you. But, I have always tried to find the silver lining in any mess created by others.

          The blessing of a shortlived Trump presidency is that the Republican Party has lost ALL credibility and will never again play their spite games like they did when they insisted on impeaching Clinton and trying to control the Obama presidency. Now for all time, the Republican white boy hicks have gotten a chunk removed from their dumb asses that will leave a scar on their party into the next millennium.

          The beauty of that? They and ONLY they did it to themselves. There is no way they can blame this on anyone else. They are the ones who allowed McConnell and Ryan to play their magic wand games to replace and repeal everything Obama did to restore this country. They are the only ones who used a skanky tactic to put Gorsuch on the SC. They are the only ones who allowed Trump to run from their party. They are the only ones who knew about the hacking as McConnell admitted in October and did nothing.

          So you bet this has a silver lining for all Americans who love their country. Gone are the Tea Party haters and the Koch schemers. Gone are the corporate CEO thieves and grifters. Oh well, it was time for us to do clean house anyway.

  3. FireBaron May 15, 2017

    Kobach even lost in Judicial District, and Appeals Courts that were “safely Conservative”. So what does that tell you about his history of voter suppression?

  4. Mama Bear May 15, 2017

    Voting should be made mandatory in this country. Period.

    1. idamag May 15, 2017


    2. Aaron_of_Portsmouth May 15, 2017

      Or at least civics classes in high school should be revamped in order to impress on youth not only a sense of responsibility to vote, but to inform them of how it’s vital for the smooth running of society, and the responsibility to vote using rational thinking informed by one’s own independent investigation rather than reliance on what the media and vested interests want.

      1. Mama Bear May 16, 2017

        even more important – teaching critical thinking skills. It would seem to me that even the most limited mind could benefit from this one!

  5. idamag May 15, 2017

    Hello trump and republican party, goodbye democracy. This latest bogie man, voter fraud, is just another seed to plant to take over the country. This seed grows best in excrement, filth and slime. That slime in the lack of education and the minds it can be planted in.

    1. Eleanore Whitaker May 15, 2017

      It isn’t about voters voting more than once. Trump is trying to make big bucks from voters who move from state to state and don’t alert their voting district of their move. No one does that. It isn’t the first thing on anyone’s mind when they are moving.

      But you know what? The ones who will get the worst of this are the military families. Unless Trump plans on forcing the military to alert their career military personnel’s constant moves from state to state, he will be calling Americans fighting in wars he and his war profiteers create “illegals.”

      1. pisces63 May 15, 2017

        YET, a man from Milwaukee, republican voted 7 times for the governor and his recall using his name a girlfriend’s son’s name, his son’s name, his name in KC and in Milwaukee, different addresses. They caught him. Robert Monroe, Health executive.

        1. Eleanore Whitaker May 15, 2017

          Right. So Robert Monroe was a Republican who is part of Trump’s so called voter fraud. Thank you for that.

          1. pisces63 May 15, 2017

            Not trump, arrested by them but Scott Walker. The Trump one was for a woman who voted for her mother. She had died before the election and so she took her ID and voted for her, then for her self. Her in Ohio, I believe. Not to make fun of the ladies but I just see a bad movie, mother on death bed, I could not vote for him, grabbing daughter’s hand, please,, promise me, do not let my vote go the waste. Just think what a mail ballot could have accomplished. Cannot not find how that ended. not being mean just sick and tired of the brainless wonders.

          2. Eleanore Whitaker May 15, 2017

            It’s people like you who keep the rest of us on top of information we may not hear about in our states.

            We know that many states to the west of NJ had no idea just what a crook Trump was and is.

            One thing about him that always amused me is that he is first to call it “fake” news when it is truth about him and first to get his mug in photo ops for “ratings.” Does he realize government is not his Celebrity TV show?

          3. pisces63 May 15, 2017

            You, too. Now they just announced the SC told NC their voter ID law will not be allowed. They had deliberately practice voter suppression by cutting up districts to deny black voters. They said some area were razor with precision cutting.

          4. pisces63 May 15, 2017

            North Carolina, did not arrest her. Did nothing, not even leave he name.

          5. Eleanore Whitaker May 15, 2017

            That might be why NC and VA were both hauled before the SC in March of this year. Both of these states had some kind of odd voting stuff going on that the SC slapped down. In NC, they tried to overlap Republican voting districts that would have completely banished minorities and make them appear to be Republicans. VA did NC one better by deleting voting districts in minority areas of their state.

            This the only way Republicans can win elections?

  6. Eleanore Whitaker May 15, 2017

    This isn’t about voting rights. It is about looking for a way to put Hillary in jail for voter fraud. From a world class fraud who knows how to make others always look guiltier than he is.

    He is still seething with rage that we can all claim the win of the election by popular vote. Why does it bother him? Because popular vote is vote of the people. Not votes of electors in the Electoral College appointed by state legislators and who can very easily be paid off.

    Don’t wonder how it is Trump gets to so many we once considered people of honesty and integrity. With him using Russian money to pay them all off, why not?

    All he has to do is wave a top government title in their faces or a the promise of “no worries about your financial future” and he buys any weak minded conservative ready to dine at the table of a devil.

  7. Eleanore Whitaker May 15, 2017

    The real joke is that every government agency related to elections has already stated in no uncertain terms that for the last 3 presidential elections that 0.0002 percent of the entire voting population was due to duplicate votes.

    But here is how Trump will once again trap himself. Now, he is trying to accuse millions of people who move from one state to another and don’t notify their former voting district of their move that they are somehow “illegally voting.” That’s BS. Bannon, Conway and Spicer all would be considered illegal for not alerting their former voting districts they moved to DC.

    And it is NOT the job of the voter to clean up these voting rolls. So what’s Trump the Moron going to do now? Shut down all voting districts that have not gone on a wild hunt to find out where their voters have moved?

    Trump is so desperate and so paranoid that he lost the popular vote that he is now hot to make it appear Hillary is a criminal. Most big time crooks like Trump always deflect their massive guilt for their crimes on others.

    I welcome this federal commission. It will make an ass of Trump yet again. But, it does one better: It now has top Republicans pissed at him for spending tax dollars do foolishly because even they know this is a white elephant he is selling.


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