Right out of the gates President Donald Trump’s taxpayer–funded commission on nonexistent voter fraud is calling its own bluff.
What began as a president wielding the power of his office to mold reality around his conspiratorial, anti–immigrant fears and his obsession with last year’s presidential election has morphed into what critics had suspected: The true aim of Trump’s “Advisory Commission on Election Integrity” appears to be suppressing non–white, non–Republican voters.
In addition to the type of voter roll information the commission requested from states this week, another glaring tell is that the panel’s own members can’t even comply with the request. This means that members knew they were crossing an ethical and legal line but proceeded anyway.
Republican poster boy for voter suppression Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who co–chairs the fake voter fraud commission and who sent the letters to states requesting personal voter information including names, social security numbers, party affiliation, voter history, felony convictions, and even military status, told The Kansas City Star on Friday that Kansas wouldn’t fully comply with his own request.
To clarify, on Thursday, Kobach said his state would comply, only to reverse his position the next day.
“In Kansas, the Social Security number is not publicly available,” Kobach told the Star. “Every state receives the same letter, but we’re not asking for it if it’s not publicly available.”
He added a caveat: “If the commission decides that they would like to receive Social Security numbers to a secure site in order to remove false positives, then we would have to double check and make sure Kansas law permits.”
Take your time checking on that, Kris — we’ll wait.
The chair of this commission is Vice President Mike Pence, whose home state of Indiana joined a growing list of dozens of states that are refusing to comply with the request. Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, a Republican, announced on Friday that the state wouldn’t fully comply, The Hill reported.
A statement from Lawson’s office said:
Indiana law doesn’t permit the Secretary of State to provide the personal information requested by Secretary Kobach. Under Indiana public records laws, certain voter info is available to the public, the media and any other person who requested the information for non-commercial purposes. The information publicly available is name, address and congressional district assignment.
The flat–out rejection by many states to the voter roll information request is coming from both sides of the political aisle. Mississippi’s Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann responded by stating:
They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great State to launch from.
Mississippi residents should celebrate Independence Day and our State’s right to protect the privacy of our citizens by conducting our own electoral processes.
Trump responded to the criticisms on Saturday with another tinfoil tweet:
Maybe he should ask his own vice president. Try to keep up, Donald.