In an effort to fight against voting problems and voter fraud (real or perceived), President Donald Trump has authorized the creation of a commission that will look into his claims of “millions,” of illegal voters and votes that took place during the 2016 Presidential election. The commission titled the Advisory Commission, is set to be tasked with finding ways of solving problems in the voting booth.
The problem of voter fraud was a hot topic in the 2016 Presidential election and a favorite topic to bring up amongst Republicans and Right-wingers in America, continuously brought up each election cycle. The topic was again brought to the forefront by President Trump as he made numerous claims that there were “millions,” of illegals voters across the United States and that thousands of illegal votes had been cast in New Hampshire leading to the defeat of New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte.
President Trump has even made a specific claim that 3 to 5 million voters cast their ballot during the 2016 general election. The claim, however has been debunked by the numerous studies that have been conducted throughout the aftermath of the 2016 election.
Studies conducted by organizations like the Brennan Center for Justice have largely rejected that claim with studies showing that less than 200 instances may have taken place during the 2016 election. The commission, promises to be a partisan one with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach being in charge.
Kobach is an ardent advocate for tougher voting laws, and has implemented the practices into law in his own state. “We’ve had substantial numbers of non citizens getting on our voter rolls,” Kobach claimed in May.
To fight against alleged voter fraud in Kansas, Republicans have implemented laws that require people registering to vote to prove their citizenship during the process and to show approved ID cards before going into the polls. These efforts critics say, disenfranchise voters, and intimidate voters from wanting to sign up for voting.
According to a report published by the Brennan Center, 14 cases of voter fraud in Kansas were recommended for prosecution after the 2016 election. In Texas, only one was ever found guilty, in a guilty plea, regarding cases from 2002 until 2014. Even if someone is accused of voter fraud, it is very hard for prosecutors to prove the guilt as there is multiple types of voter fraud.
“If other states are experiencing the same problem, then I think it would be appropriate for them to consider what Kansas has done,” Kobach continued in his statement.
Back in November Kobach said, “I think the president-elect is absolutely correct when he says the number of illegal votes cast exceeds the popular vote between him and Hillary Clinton at this point.” President Trump claimed that one of the reasons he lost the popular vote was because of illegal voters, even though there have been numerous studies disputing the claim.
The real problem according to some, are the laws being put forth by politicians like Kobach, where states like his home state of Kansas and battleground states like North Carolina put forth tougher new voter laws in the run up to the 2016 election. Many claim that the tough new laws suppress citizens abilities to vote and is being done purposely to help Republicans win.
“Whenever I hear Kris Kobach use the words ‘voter fraud,’ what that means in English for regular old folks is voter suppression,” Kansas Democrat Jim Ward recently said about Kobach being appointed commissioner.
There have been numerous Republican led states besides Kansas and North Carolina who have tried to implement tougher voter registration requirements but the United States Supreme Court and other state level courts have found the measures to be unconstitutional.
“Most secretaries of states see their job to be a fair arbiter of elections. Kris has believed that the secretary of state is a partisan tool to affect the results of elections,” Ward continued.
If President Trump and Republicans really want to make sure that we have integrity in our elections and make sure voter fraud is not a problem, they would invest in new technology for voting machines as the ones in use around the United States are largely out of date and vulnerable. However, Republicans claims for in person voter fraud has been largely debunked.
Links to sources:
- New York Times, Kobach Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/14/us/kris-kobach-voter-fraud.html?action=click&contentCollection=Opinion&module=RelatedCoverage®ion=Marginalia&pgtype=article&_r=0
- New York Times Story on Election Commission: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/15/opinion/trump-voter-fraud-commission.html?_r=0
- MCclatchy DC Link: http://www.mcclatchydc.com/news/politics-government/article117943363.html