President Trump signed an executive order last week creating the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to promote “fair and honest Federal elections,” following up on his unproven claims that he lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton because of widespread voter fraud. The commission will be chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, and its vice chair will be Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, also a Republican. Kobach’s appointment has alarmed voting rights advocates, who point to his record of making unsubstantiated claims about the extent of voter fraud — which study after study has found to be negligible — and using them to promote strict voter ID laws and other policies that make it harder to vote.
“We are deeply troubled by the inclusion of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as vice-chair of the commission,” Wade Henderson, CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said in a statement. “His discriminatory and regressive views on voting rights are well known and render him too biased to neutrally assess voting issues.”
Kobach is perhaps best known for his office’s Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck program, which his predecessor launched in 2005 and which Kobach expanded after taking office in 2011. The program brings together mostly Republican-controlled states to build a database of registered voters and ostensibly root out people registered in multiple states.