Take a break from all this James Comey brouhaha with this refreshing bit of news that will surely make you feel much, much better. Donald Trump signed an executive order creating a commission to to look at the alleged voter fraud and voter suppression, likely in order to bolster his wildly bogus claims that millions of people voted illegally in the election.
The Associate Press reports that the “Advisory Commission on Election Integrity” will examine allegations of voter fraud and suppression across the country and will be headed by Kansas secretary of state Kris W. Kobach, a man who, according to the New York Times, “has championed the strictest voter identification laws in the country.” If you’re not familiar with Kobach’s work in this field, Slate’s Jamelle Bouie lays it out nicely:
The architect of draconian anti-immigration laws in Arizona and Alabama—as well as the mind behind Mitt Romney’s “self-deportation” rhetoric—Kobach has been a prominent champion for voting restrictions. In the aftermath of 2013’s Shelby County v. Holder, in which the Supreme Court struck down key parts of the Voting Rights Act, Kobach emerged as a major voice for voter suppression. He has backed strict ID laws and pushed for states to require a birth certificate or passport for registration, measures that primarily burden low-income voters, including many voters of color.
Creating this commission specifically to investigate unsubstantiated claims that have been debunked by factcheckers about why he lost the popular vote feels like a calculated abuse of power and, given the current situation with James Comeys ouster, is completely ludicrous.
From the AP:
Michael Waldman, president of the New York-based Brennan Center for Justice, said the commission was formed to “find proof of the president’s absurd claim” about millions of people voting illegally. He noted that it came in the aftermath of Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday.
“He fired the person investigating a real threat to election integrity, and set up a probe of an imaginary threat,” Waldman said.
The Trump administration has been unable to produce any solid evidence about the alleged voter fraud that caused Trump to lose the popular vote. It is exceedingly clear to anyone who pays attention to the news for, like five minutes a day that this commission is nothing more than an attempt to tend to Trump’s continually-bruised ego more than anything else. And yet, because the fires of hell grow hotter and hotter every day, this is the world we live in.
According to deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the group will present its findings in a report next year that will supposedly show “system vulnerabilities that lead to improper registrations and voting.”
The Times reports that the A.C.L.U has already filed a legal request seeking records that would prove that these claims are anything other than the sputtering delusions of a sore loser.
“President Trump is attempting to spread his own fake news about election integrity,” said Dale Ho, the director of the A.C.L.U.’s Voting Rights Project. “If the Trump administration really cares about election integrity, it will divulge its supposed evidence before embarking on this commission boondoggle.”
“The commission will review policies and practices that enhance or undermine the American people’s confidence in the integrity of federal elections,” Sanders said. It’s a little too late for that, don’t you think? I’d say that the public’s confidence in the integrity of elections is pretty much shot by now.