Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach was the architect of a nationwide system to purge minorities from voter rolls. Now Donald Trump wants to give him even more power over our voting system.
On Thursday, the White House announced via email that Donald Trump had signed an executive order creating a new national "voter fraud commission" chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, and co-chaired by Republican Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
At a press briefing that same day, White House Deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that they expect the commission's report, which will "review policies and practices that enhance or undermine confidence in elections and identify system vulnerabilities," to be completed by 2018.
Despite the fact that there are more cases of people getting struck by lightning twice than committing in-person voter fraud, Trump believes this is a critical issue that must be addressed immediately — possibly because he refuses to accept that he lost the popular vote.
And putting someone like Kobach in charge of this commission is very telling.
Kobach is one of the biggest promoters of the myth there is a widespread conspiracy of in-person voter fraud. He has imposed ridiculously strict identification and proof-of-citizenship tests on voters, which courts have smacked down multiple times.
Under a state law he lobbied for, Kobach is the only elections secretary in America with his own team of prosecutors, independent of the attorney general, who can target voter fraud — although his actual attempts to find voter fraud were almost a complete bust.
He is also the creator of the Interstate Crosscheck System, a voter-purging system used in 30 states which automatically checks if people are registered in more than one state and, if so, cancels their voter registration. Nearly all people flagged as registered in two states were errors, or people who innocently moved from one state to another.
Crosscheck purged over 7 million people — most of them Democratic, low-income, people of color, and many in critical swing states like North Carolina and Ohio — but only four people flagged by the system were ever charged with illegal voting.
This is not the record of someone who has any regard whatsoever for equal access to the vote or the integrity of our electoral systems.
As Jason Kander, the former secretary of state of Missouri and president of Let America Vote, an organization that fights voter suppression tactics, said of Kobach and Trump's commission:
— Sam Levine (@srl) May 11, 2017
When democracy is limited, politicians lose their accountability, and issues that affect the lives of the American people lose their relevance in the corridors of power. It is incumbent upon all Americans to stand up and challenge the lies that Republicans like Trump and Kobach use to limit the our most basic and fundamental civil right.