The federal lawsuit brought by Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap demanding prompt communication from and meaningful participation on the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity – which is studying nothing, in order to give advice to President Trump, who will ignore it – expends a lot of taxpayer money and judicial resources, but at least it’s deductible. “Voter fraud” is not a real thing, but like a Pet Rock it has become a commercial success. The political issue harkens back to Jim Crow-era literacy tests and poll taxes, but the latest voter-suppression push is relatively recent. Republicans work to disenfranchise an important chunk of the Democratic voting base – minorities and young and low-income people – by making it harder for them to vote. They do this by passing laws that restrict voting registration times and polling places and require government-sponsored identification, among other means.
All over the country Republican legislators sponsor bills backed by special interest groups to restrict voting, and Democrats and other interest groups fight them. Maine’s same-day voter registration referendum was fought and defended along partisan lines. The battle is over winning elections – nothing more.
Matt Dunlap knows that voter fraud is not a real thing. A Maine panel appointed by his Republican predecessor studied it and reached that conclusion, consistent with every other reliable analysis.
President Trump does not take advice nor is he an evidence-based kind of guy. As long as something is on Twitter, gets votes or makes money, it’s real. The president gins up his base with fear mongering about voter fraud and made a splash when he chose as the commission’s vice chair a leading Republican proponent of voter-restriction laws: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is now running for governor on a voter-restriction platform.