Long before Donald Trump first spouted his lie that hordes of illegal voters had swarmed the polling places — his transparent attempt to soothe his own ego and explain to the nation his substantial loss of the 2016 popular vote — the Republican Party was already fully engaged in its own ongoing big lie about voter fraud. With demographics working against it, the party for years has falsely claimed rampant illegal voting, with the goal of suppressing as many Democratic votes as possible. The marriage of convenience between the GOP’s partisan cynicism and Trump’s narcissism led to last year’s creation of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The commission yielded few if any new findings of fraud but wasted lots of time, money and resources. Around the same time, a Missouri law requiring voters to show a photo ID before casting their votes took effect. As with Trump’s fake commission, it was a deliberately cumbersome solution to a nonexistent problem. Now a judge is pondering whether to throw out Missouri’s voter ID law on constitutional grounds. He should.
So shameless has the GOP been in promoting this particular lie that it needs to be stated plainly: There isn’t one scintilla of evidence that illegal voting by undocumented migrants or anyone else is substantially happening in America at all today, let alone that it’s moving the electoral needle.
Even the Missouri law’s biggest booster, Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft, while promoting it last year, could point to just one — one — confirmed instance of voter-impersonation in Missouri. When is the last time a major new restriction was imposed on all state citizens based on just one inconsequential act?