Archive for Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Kobach: Election panel may not recommend changes

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, right, introduces one of the speakers at a meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017 in Manchester, NH. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, center, and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, left, also attend. Gardner opened the meeting by defending his participation and the panel's existence, saying it hasn't yet reached any conclusion. (AP Photo/Holly Ramer)

New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, right, introduces one of the speakers at a meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity on Tuesday, Sept. 12, 2017 in Manchester, NH. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, center, and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, left, also attend. Gardner opened the meeting by defending his participation and the panel's existence, saying it hasn't yet reached any conclusion. (AP Photo/Holly Ramer)

September 13, 2017

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Manchester, N.H. — Kris Kobach, the vice chairman of President Donald Trump’s commission on election fraud, on Tuesday dismissed criticism that the panel is bent on voter suppression, saying there is a “high possibility” it will make no recommendations when it finishes its work — and even if it does, it can’t force states to adopt them.

Trump, a Republican, created the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in May to investigate his unsubstantiated claims that millions of people voted illegally in 2016. Democrats have blasted the commission as a biased panel determined to curtail voting rights, and they ramped up their criticism ahead of and during the group’s daylong meeting in New Hampshire.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, a Democrat, said some voters have canceled their registrations or been hesitant to register since learning the group has asked state governments to provide data on individual voters.

“Their voting suppression impact has already begun,” he said on a press call organized by the Democratic National Committee.

The commission in June requested any records considered public by states, including driver’s license numbers, partial Social Security numbers and voting histories. No state is sending all of the information sought, and 14 states are denying the commission’s request.

There was no mention of the data request during the commission’s meeting, which included presentations about historical election turnout data, electronic voting systems and issues affecting public confidence in elections. But speaking to reporters afterward, Kobach emphasized that states are only being asked to send already-public information and called the Democrats’ criticism about voter suppression “bizarre.”

“The claim goes something like this: The commission will meet, then they’ll recommend things like photo ID or some other election security measure, then the states will adopt them. There’s your leap in logic. The commission does not have the ability to do a Jedi mind trick on a state legislature and force them to adopt anything,” said Kobach, the Republican secretary of state in Kansas.

“All the commission is doing is collecting data,” he added. “It may make recommendations, or I think at this point there’s a high possibility the commission makes no recommendations and they just say, ‘Here’s the data. States, do with it what you want.’”

Privacy advocates have raised concerns about the information being collected in one central place, although the commission has said the detailed data will not be made public and will be destroyed when the commission is done with it.

Kobach said 20 states have sent data so far. He said the commission hopes to use it to investigate possible cases of people voting in multiple states but said that will depend on how much information it receives.

Comments

Richard Heckler 3 months ago

The Campaign Legal Center, via a FOIA request, has unearthed a remarkable email sent by an employee of the conservative Heritage Foundation to Attorney General Jeff Sessions declaring that the administration's then-planned commission on 'election integrity' would be an "abject failure" if it were to include Democrats or "mainstream Republican officials and/or academics."

Despite the inclusion of a handful of token Democrats, the commission -- which just had its second meeting today in New Hampshire -- is controlled by a who's who of conservative voter suppression advocates who are clearly setting the agenda, including the Heritage Foundation's own Hans von Spakovsky.

This shows that the administration was under pressure from right-wing groups to stack the commission with voter-suppression ideologues, and they ended up doing exactly that. It offers a window into how groups like Heritage discuss these matters behind closed doors -- that even "mainstream Republicans" aren't pure enough on this issue.

It's also interesting to note that this unnamed Heritage employee chose to email Sessions, indicating that the attorney general may have been involved in the commission's formation

Richard Heckler 3 months ago

As an attorney in George W. Bush’s Justice Department, Hans von Spakovsky gave the green light to a restrictive voter ID program in Georgia against the advice of career DOJ attorneys -- at the same time he published an op-ed under a pseudonym supporting ID requirements.

Since then he’s worked at the far-right Heritage Foundation, whose president openly admitted that his group was working to impose voter ID requirements across the country in order to elect “more conservative candidates.”

He is only one of several right-wing commission members who have made careers out of voter suppression and spreading thoroughly debunked LIES about widespread illegal voting by individuals.

There's also:

Commission co-chair Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State and perhaps the chief architect of the Right’s coordinated attack on voting rights. He has been repeatedly sued for making it harder for Kansans to vote.

In 2016 he illegally blocked tens of thousands of eligible voters from registering. He repeatedly pushed the racist conspiracy theory that President Obama was born in Kenya. In 2015, Kobach said that it was possible that the Obama administration might ban all prosecutions of African Americans.

J. Christian Adams, a former Bush Department of Justice Attorney and a longtime critic of the Voting Rights Act. Adams claimed that under President Obama, the Justice Department’s Voting Rights Division didn’t spend enough time protecting white voters.

Ken Blackwell, the former Ohio Secretary of State and current senior fellow at the Radical Right hate group Family Research Council. In 2004 Blackwell became notorious for his efforts to hinder minority voter registration in Ohio in an effort to support the reelection of President George W. Bush.

He’s one of the few current or former election officials to echo Donald Trump’s baseless claims of widespread illegal voting in the 2016 elections.

Richard Heckler 3 months ago

This is Governor Brownback, This is Kris Kobach , This is the Lt Governor ..... This is and will be their administrations.

United States of ALEC – Bill Moyers http://www.democracynow.org/2012/9/27/the_united_states_of_alec_bill

ALEC Subversive Activity http://www.rightwingwatch.org/report/alec-the-voice-of-corporate-special-interests-in-state-legislatures/#Voter

ALEC – The Voice of Corporate Special Interests in State Legislatures http://www.pfaw.org/rww-in-focus/alec-the-voice-of-corporate-special-interests-state-legislatures

=== Pay close attention to this 24/7 organized activity: American Legislative Exchange Council Boot Camp Team http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/01/koch-brothers-candidate-training-recruiting-aegis-strategic

Dorothy Hoyt-Reed 3 months ago

Of course, Kobach isn't going to do much of substance. They only formed this commission to try and make Trump feel better about losing the popular vote. And to get Kobach's name in the news. Remember all publicity, good or bad, is good. The more people see your name, the less they see your opponents name. Those voters who can't be bothered to really learn about candidates are duped by this. Why do you think they spend so much money on untruthful attack ads. It's all about name recognition for some voters. And why are we Kansas tax payers paying him a salary to work in DC? He is delegating all his duties to staff, and not doing his job. Are people really happy about that?

Fred Whitehead Jr. 3 months ago

And Hillary Clinton being the "real" winner and the legitimate President of the United States.

AND DON'T SCREAM AT ME ABOUT THE CONSTITUTION.

I KNOW ABOUT THE FRAUD OF THE"'ELECTORAL COLLEGE" THAT HAS UPSET AND VOIDED SEVERAL RECENT ELECTIONS.

Bob Smith 2 months, 4 weeks ago

Fred, you'd best be careful. You might do yourself a mischief getting so vein-popping outraged at stuff.

Greg Cooper 3 months ago

They have no reason, legally, to make any recommendations. The law, as it exists, covers the bases quite well, both in registration and enforcement, so this window dressing committee is unnecessary, except to the Chump base who haven;t a clue what the law really is or how it works.

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