Efforts of Russia to obstruct US voting may become the new focus of Trump’s commission. The recent article on the Boston Globe had the story:
Two members of a presidential commission charged with investigating alleged voter fraud want the panel to focus on what could be the biggest fraudulent scheme of all: attempted Russian hacking of numerous state election systems. The call, by the secretaries of state in New Hampshire and Maine, presents a potential change in direction for a special commission that has widely been seen as a political smoke screen to justify the president’s unfounded claims about widespread fraud by individual voters in places like New Hampshire and California.
Kobach, a Republican who is the Kansas secretary of state and vice chairman of the commission, said the panel would examine the vulnerabilities that Russians exposed if the group wanted to go in that direction. “In the initial descriptions of the commission, election security and the integrity of equipment and voter databases was not specifically described,” Kobach said. “But if it’s something the commission wants to discuss, we can.”
Rick Hasen, of Election Law Blog fame, had the following to add on a recent post Professor Richard L. Hasen is Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine:
Maybe these Democratic commissioners also want to study whether restrictions on voting such as strict voter identification laws suppress the vote. I guess Kobach would go along “it it’s something the commission wants to discuss.”
President Trump named three more members of the Commission last night: They appear to be Luis Borunda, Deputy Secretary of State of Maryland (appointed by Republican gov. Larry Hogan); Mark Rhodes, a county clerk from Wood County, WV (who won his reelection for office as a Democrat by 5 votes!), and David Dunn, who may have been a Democratic legislator in Alabama.Thanks to Doug Chapin for helping to identify these folks. (If any of this is wrong I will update).
Democrats have been up in arms against the appointment of Secretary of State of Kansas Kris Kobach to lead Trump’s election commission. Here is a Slate article that attacks Kobach on this point:
Far from a neutral figure, Kobach is a fierce advocate for harsh, restrictive voting laws. By itself, his presence is a sign that this commission is a sham, and that the drive for “confidence” is actually a push to raise the barriers to voting and participation.
To understand why Kobach’s presence on this panel is so alarming, you need to know his background. The architect of draconian anti-immigration laws in Arizona and Alabama—as well as the mind behind Mitt Romney’s “self-deportation” rhetoric—Kobach has been a prominent champion for voting restrictions. In the aftermath of 2013’s Shelby County v. Holder, in which the Supreme Court struck down key parts of the Voting Rights Act, Kobach emerged as a major voice for voter suppression. He has backed strict ID laws and pushed for states to require a birth certificate or passport for registration, measures that primarily burden low-income voters, including many voters of color. From his perch as Kansas’ top election official, Kobach has launched a crusade against “illegal voting,” winning power from state lawmakers to prosecute “voting crime.” In keeping with most studies of voter fraud—which find little to no evidence of its existence—Kobach has found just nine cases of alleged fraud out of 1.8 million registered Kansas voters.