Notes on the Members of the Trump — Pence Electoral Commission
Using federal resources like the National Driver Registration and Green Card databases to ensure the integrity of our elections and protect the privileges of citizenship doesn’t sound crazy in theory. But in practice, and under the stewardship of Kris Kobach, the impact on the franchise will be catastrophic .
After cutting his teeth under former Bush A.G. John Ashcroft, Kobach came-to-fame as the architect of the “Papers Please” laws in Arizona and Alabama that require a person to prove their legal status if a police officer suspects them of being in the US unlawfully. Next, he set his sights on the ballot box.
When Kobach became Secretary of State for Kansas he lobbied for, and became the first S.o.S. granted the authority to personally prosecute voting related crime. Although he’s managed to convict less than a dozen people in six years — most notably a Kansas resident with a cabin in neighboring Colorado, who voted in the latter state’s marijuana referendum (yes) — he’s more enthusiastic about the idea than ever. And the next move is to take his double-voting-stoner trap national. He calls it the Interstate Crosscheck System.
Crosscheck is a network Kobach designed to eliminate double-voting by cross-referencing state electoral rolls to ostensibly identify voters registered in more than one place based on a recorded date of birth and a First & Last name. So far he’s managed to sign up at least half the states, and using his criteria more than 6 million people have been flagged as potential double-voters. These people become subject to removal from the rolls despite the fact that their middle-names, suffixes and Social Security Numbers — things that might otherwise distinguish someone—are not considered when Crosscheck compiles its data, leaving it up to local officials to identify false positives. How they go about this varies; Kobach instructs officials to send a postcard to the registered addresses, and only if it is noticed, signed, and returned does the voter remain on the rolls. In fact, the voter is considered inactive while the process plays out, all because they share a date of birth, and their first & last name with someone in another state. That may not sound like a big deal but it’s a big country, and there are a lot of Joseph Jacksons and John Smiths out there.
Despite the need for additional due-diligence, Kobach markets Crosscheck as a precise tool in his war on voter-fraud, and in 2013 officials in the State of Virginia characterized the data as 100% accurate and instructed boards to purge voters without any further investigation. In 2014 the Ada County, Idaho board purged every single name received from Crosscheck without notifying voters, one of whom was the active School Superintendent for the District. In New Mexico more than ten percent of Democratic Primary voters were turned away on Super Tuesday last year. That same afternoon in Nevada, a man named Paul Maez shared their experience when he found his name missing from the rolls. The fact that he’s the Supervisor for Elections in the city of Las Vegas didn’t spare him. New Mexico and Nevada both participate in the network.
Conservative estimates suggest that Crosscheck disenfranchises 200 people for every case of double-voting it prevents. And in July, 2016 Kobach defied a court order, and was nearly held in contempt for refusing to restore 20,000 properly registered voters to the state’s rolls.
The four most common names in the Database are Garcia, Jackson, Kim and Patel. Only one White person in Eleven is on the list compared to one Black person in Seven. So far 13% of compiled names have been completely removed from voter rolls,which comes out to slightly more than 1% of all voters in participating states; like Pennsylvania and Michigan.
Consider for a moment that nearly a quarter of all Spanish Women share a first name, and that Kobach aims to expand his resources to include the federal green card database. The implication of just being flagged by Crosscheck changes from a person being someone who has likely moved, into someone who may have committed a felony by voting as a non-citizen. Given that legal permanent residents are issued a SSN and most voters register with a state driver’s licence number, the task of investigating each case would not be easy, and when it comes to electoral boards the burden of proof is put on the voter. Instead of just returning a postcard confirming your address, people will be lining up at city hall to prove their citizenship, papers in hand,and accusations that millions of immigrants are voting illegally will have been codified into law.
- “The 14th Amendment does not in any way require the federal government to confer citizenship upon every person born in the United States.” -Kris Kobach
- One Person, One Vote: Estimating the Prevalence of Double Voting in U.S. Presidential Elections
2. Double Voting: Jim Crow Returns
3. AP: Judge Cancels Contempt Hearing Official
4. Kris Kobach: Lawyer for America’s Nativist Movement
— — — — — — Additional Members of the Bipartisan Commission — — — —
Connie Lawson (R): Indiana Secretary of State
- Introduced one of the country”s first Voter ID Laws as a State Legislator in 2005.
- Harassed and intimidated voter registration drives throughout 2016. Cited routine changes in voter registration (name change, address etc) and trivial errors on registration forms as evidence of widespread voter fraud triggering a statewide investigation, including a police raid on the State’s largest urban canvassing group effectively kneecapping its operation one week before the registration deadline.
Bill Gardner (D): New Hampshire Secretary of State
- Invalidated the absentee ballots of hundreds of voters in the November 2016 election, including a blind woman, because of mismatched signatures. Is on the record as not supporting absentee ballots, for general use.
- Supports NHSB 3 tightening residency requirements. Would impose jail time and $5,000 fine if appropriate residency documents are not submitted. Critics say the bill targets students. Gardner says it’s needed to prevent “drive-by-voting.”
Ken Blackwell (R): Former Ohio Secretary of State
- Amidst an intense democratic voter registration drive in 2004, he instructed electoral boards to reject applications printed on paper less than 80 pound stock (Thicker than construction paper — four times thicker than typical printer paper — like a post card).
- Failure to consider provisional ballots: a voter may cast a provisional ballot if they arrive at the polls and find that their name is no longer on the rolls. Electoral boards are then supposed to compare the name with those that have been recently purged during routine maintenance. In 2004 he instructed officials to only compare such provisional ballots with current rolls; a self-defeating exercise.
Matthew Dunlap (D): Maine Secretary of State
- Does not Support Voter ID Laws. A 2013 study conducted by Maine found there to be zero evidence of voter fraud
- When describing Republican voter suppression tactics he said “Anyone who does this and thinks it’s cute, to win an election, really, I think it’s a treasonable offense. That’s how I feel about it. I feel very strongly about this.”
- Has investigated accusations that college students were voting both in Maine and their home state and found zero evidence.
Christy McCormick: Chairwoman of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission
- Republican Nominee on the Bipartisan E.A.C.
- Supports upgrading existing voting machines. Has called on Congress to provide funding.
- Clashed with Obama D.O.J. when she supported states that enacted proof of Citizenship requirements. Supports Crosscheck.