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ICYMI: Topeka Capital-Journal Editorial Board: “Don’t Trust Kobach and Trump”

 

Last week, President Trump established a Presidential Commission on Election Integrity to review alleged voter fraud and suppression in American elections and appointed Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as the Vice Chair of this commission.  (No, this is not news as reported by The Onion or The Borowitz Report. It’s really real.)

A new, must read editorial from Kobach’s hometown paperTopeka Capital-Journal reviews his long history of voter suppression and warns Americans not to trust Kobach or President Trump:

Trump and Kobach are uniquely unqualified to secure the “integrity” of American elections. They both have obvious incentives to report vast, unchecked fraud in the country. They’ve both made hysterical, unfounded claims about “millions of people who voted illegally.” And they both care more about a fictional crisis than the disenfranchisement of U.S. citizens.

Having covered Kobach up close for years, the paper’s assessment of Kobach deserves national attention. Below, we excerpt key portions of the editorial, available in full here:

Days after Trump was sworn in, he told congressional leaders that he only lost the popular vote because 3 million to 5 million illegal votes had been cast. He didn’t cite any studies or offer anything resembling evidence — he just knew that the number of illegal votes had to be higher than the gap between him and Clinton.

Trump’s claim was almost universally pilloried, and many Republicans were among his critics. House Speaker Paul Ryan said there was “no evidence” that widespread voter fraud tainted the election. Sen. Lindsey Graham urged the president to either “share with us the information you have about this or please stop saying it.” But Secretary of State Kris Kobach described Trump’s ludicrous assertion as a reasonable estimate: “I think the president-elect is absolutely correct when he says the number of illegal votes cast exceeds the popular vote margin between him and Hillary Clinton at this point.” Again, no evidence was provided.

On Thursday, Trump appointed Kobach vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. According to Trump’s executive order, the commission will identify “vulnerabilities in voting systems and practices used for federal elections that could lead to improper voter registrations and improper voting, including fraudulent voter registration and fraudulent voting.” Considering Kobach’s record in Kansas, Americans should be extremely suspicious of his role in an effort to investigate voter fraud at the national level.

[…]

Kobach’s convictions are negligible compared with the huge cost of his fixation on voter fraud. Last year, the state’s rigid voter ID mandate kept more than 17,000 Kansans off the voter rolls because they didn’t present a birth certificate, naturalization papers or a passport when they registered at Department of Motor Vehicles offices. This requirement has been repeatedly challenged in federal and district court, and Kobach can’t seem to win a case (he was ultimately ordered to allow the 17,000 Kansans to vote in local, state and federal elections).

Trump and Kobach are uniquely unqualified to secure the “integrity” of American elections. They both have obvious incentives to report vast, unchecked fraud in the country. They’ve both made hysterical, unfounded claims about “millions of people who voted illegally.” And they both care more about a fictional crisis than the disenfranchisement of U.S. citizens.