Amid a firestorm of controversy last week over President Donald Trump’s decision to fire FBI Director James Comey, the administration announced formation of a new commission on “election integrity.” It seemed an amateurish attempt to deflect national attention from the president’s growing credibility problems regarding Russian influence on his presidential campaign and his reasons for firing the person in charge of investigating it. Doubly absurd was his naming of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to serve as the deputy head of the commission under Vice President Mike Pence. Republican Kobach’s record of attempting to suppress votes of minorities and young people in Kansas is legendary. Putting Kobach in charge of election integrity is like putting Russian President Vladimir Putin in charge of U.S. internet security.
The White House’s goal with the new commission apparently is to come up with any examples they can of voter fraud in the Nov. 8 elections. Trump has tweeted his frustration about losing the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton, alleging without proof that, if not for “millions” of fraudulent ballots cast for Clinton, the popular vote would have swung to him.
The commission’s mandate, it appears, is to dig up some proof. Good luck with that.
Since taking office six years ago, Kobach has successfully prosecuted nine cases of voter fraud, even though he alleged in his 2010 campaign that “the illegal registration of alien voters has become pervasive.” Most of his nine convictions involved people who voted in two states. Against a backdrop of 1.8 million registered voters in Kansas, that’s hardly pervasive.