The Pence-Kobach Commission met today to discuss public confidence in elections. But rather than addressing public confidence, the members seem set on using their time, energy, and government resources to undermine it.
As a lead up to the meeting, Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, the vice-chair of the commission (and well-known vote suppressor) has written a paid column for Breitbart asserting that he finally has the proof that vote fraud has swung an election. Spoiler alert: He doesn’t. Rather, he seems set on using this platform to continue to spin out conspiracy theories that deteriorate public trust in our elections.
Secretary Kobach’s “proof” of voter fraud is the 6,540 people who used same-day voter registration to vote in New Hampshire and presented an out of state driver’s license as their identification; 5,313 of whom have not yet obtained a New Hampshire license or registered a car in the state. Kobach assumes that all of these individuals were therefore not lawful New Hampshire voters.
But Kobach failed to check the law in New Hampshire. A recent Supreme Court of New Hampshire case made clear that not all eligible New Hampshire voters are required to follow the Department of Moter Vehicle’s regulations regarding changing your driver’s license. In fact, many college students who are “domiciled” (currently residing) in New Hampshire can legally vote in New Hampshire but do not necessarily have to change their licenses. Incidentally, the highest rates of use of out-of-state IDs in New Hampshire came from college towns. The Washington Post reached out to some of the individuals on Mr. Kobach’s list: they were all New Hampshire college students.
Mr. Kobach also ignores that many of these voters might not have cars or drive in New Hampshire and therefore don’t need to get a New Hampshire driver’s license. Indeed, Mr. Kobach points out that these people haven’t registered a car, either. That may be why they aren’t seeking a new license. He does not even mention the possibility that some of these voters might also merely have failed to follow New Hampshire law on when to change over a driver’s license or registration after a move.
Rather than account for any of the above possibilities, Kobach assumes all of these voters committed vote fraud, a Class B felony in New Hampshire punishable by up to seven years in prison. Kobach also assumes, without any proof, that these phantom fraudulent voters were Democrats and therefore swung the election in New Hampshire for Maggie Hassan and Hillary Clinton. He argues that this is likely because nearby states lean Democratic. While this is all fantastical thinking untethered to reality at this point, isn’t it just as likely that Republican-leaning fraudsters in Democratic Massachusetts might come into New Hampshire to vote where they think it might make a difference?
Kobach’s column is just one more demonstration of the motivation behind the Pence-Kobach Commission. According to documents released by the commission, it will spend time and government resources going over the same “proof” Kobach relied on in his column.
In FOIA documents released today by CLC, a Heritage Foundation employee wrote to Attorney General Sessions urging him to ensure that the “voter fraud” commission exclude all Democrats and even “mainstream Republican officials and/or academics” and calling Secretary Kobach one of the only “real experts on the conservative side [of] the issue.” Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation was later appointed to the commission. So much for bipartisanship.