"Voter fraud" charlatan Kris Kobach was forced to release documents that prove the White House's so-called "Election Integrity Commission" is nothing more than a vehicle to deny people their right to vote.
The duplicitous nature of all those around Donald Trump becomes more evident every day. In the most recent example, a federal court forced Kris Kobach, vice chair of the Orwellian-themed "Election Integrity Commission," to hand over documents related to his voter suppression efforts.
The documents outline, in stark detail, sinister efforts to make it harder for people to exercise the most basic right in a democracy: the right to vote.
Kobach has been fighting the release of these documents, sought by the ACLU in a lawsuit in Kansas, where Kobach is Secretary of State. He lied to a judge about their very existence, and was fined $1,000 for "deceptive conduct and lack of candor."
And when he appealed that decision, a judge noted that Kobach had a pattern of misleading the courts "that [has] called his credibility into question."
Of course, lying and lack of credibility made Kobach a perfect person to work for the Trump administration, particularly on the scheme of voter suppression.
The commission was set up after Trump falsely claimed that millions of people illegally voted in 2016. Mike Pence, who chairs the panel, claimed that they have "no preconceived notions" about voter fraud.
Kobach wants to weaken the 1993 National Voter Registration Act. According to Ari Berman, writing for Mother Jones, "Those documents show how Kobach would alter one of the country’s most important voting rights laws by adding a new requirement that would make it much more difficult for Americans to register."
Kobach's efforts to do this in Kansas were overruled by a judge, but not before more than 30,000 people were prevented from registering to vote, most of whom were under the age of 30.
"Kobach said the law was necessary because 'the illegal registration of alien voters has become pervasive,' although as secretary of state he’s prosecuted only two non-citizens in Kansas for voting illegally, out of 1.8 million registered voters," Berman noted.
These documents only add to the growing pile of evidence that Republicans are looking for ways to suppress the rights of American voters. Because there is zero evidence of widespread voter fraud, Trump and his cadre of carnival barkers must rely on lies and exaggerations to push their case.
But the truth continues to come out.
In a statement to Huffington Post, Vanita Gupta, the former head of the civil rights division at the Department of Justice and president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, said:
Kris Kobach’s record on voter suppression is well known and well documented. He is man with an agenda – an agenda that he shared with then president-elect Trump. Core to that agenda is erecting unnecessary barriers to voting, whether it be through legislation or through purging voter rolls.
Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland was clear about Kobach's intentions: "Mr. Kobach has always wanted to impose abusive new voter suppression laws, and he and the White House are using this commission to manufacture a false political narrative to support their dangerous campaign."
And Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island noted: "It’s deeply troubling that the Vice Chair of the President’s ‘election integrity’ commission is out to dismantle important protections for American voters. But’s it’s no surprise. We’ve known Mr. Kobach’s mission all along."
Voting is one of the most fundamental rights in a democracy. Without the ability to vote, the voice of the people is not heard.
In contrast to the efforts of these deceptive actors, there are many groups forming to help protect the right to vote for all Americans. Access Democracy has a mission to fight for better access to the polls at a local level, recognizing that "issues like long lines, broken voting machines, and poorly maintained voter rolls block access to the ballot for millions of Americans — and they're solvable."
And Jason Kander formed Let America Vote to "fight back against proposals across the country that make it harder for eligible voters to exercise their constitutional right to cast a ballot."
Trump has never gotten over the fact that he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by nearly three million votes. And his bizarre claims of voter fraud have been seized upon by unscrupulous voter suppression zealots like Kobach to try to disenfranchise those groups that tend to vote Democratic.
While Republicans fight to deny access to the polls from targeted groups of people, progressives are fighting for the fundamental right to vote for all Americans. Voting shouldn't be a partisan issue, and shame on Mike Pence, Kris Kobach, and Donald Trump for trying to make it one.
Their voter suppression efforts are undemocratic and un-American.