When Dr. John Lott Jr. came before the Kobach-Pence “election integrity” commission last week and called for background checks for voters – the same kind that gun owners must undergo before purchasing a weapon – even the clowns had to realize that the circus had run off the road. After all, there are more than 30,000 gun deaths annually in America. Between 2000 and 2014, however, every comprehensive study – whether by courts, academics or journalists — have found only a handful of cases of voter impersonation. Lott, however, told the commission that his proposal would allow Democrats to “go and prove, essentially, to Republicans, that there’s no fraud.” There can no longer be any reasonable doubt that it is the fraudulence of this commission, rather than unverified claims of voter fraud, that is the greater threat to our democracy. Last Tuesday’s second meeting of Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, headed by Kansas Secretary of State and newly minted Breitbart columnist Kris Kobach, began under clouds of controversy that only grew darker as the day progressed.
It opened with accusations of impropriety from commissioners aimed at the commission itself. It was spattered throughout with conflicting assessments of how election data can, and can’t, be used to determine voter fraud. Then the day ended with the revelation that one of the commissioners, the Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky, had urged the commission to exclude Democrats, “mainstream Republicans and/or academics” from the commission. (Yet they welcomed Lott, whose work has been repeatedly debunked by academics and who created a phony online persona to praise and defend his work.)
In the week prior to the meeting in New Hampshire, Kobach had already drawn criticism for alleging that there was “proof” that New Hampshire’s 2016 election results included “5,513 fraudulent votes” which, he also claimed, was more than enough to swing the U.S. Senate and presidential election to the Democratic Party, given that “surrounding states are Democrat strongholds.”