First came Kris Kobach’s willfully incorrect—but headline-grabbing—accusation on Breitbart.com that more than 5,000 people illegally voted last fall in New Hampshire, delivering an Electoral College majority to Hillary Clinton and a U.S. senate seat to a Democrat. Kobach, an attorney whose anti-immigrant activism launched his career, is the Kansas secretary of state, a current gubernatorial candidate, and co-chair of President Trump’s Orwellian-titled election integrity commission. He was caught mangling some Republican-produced data about New Hampshire college students who were perfectly legal voters, to make his false claim about presumed Democrats voting illegally.
Kobach’s antipathy toward non-natives voting is nothing new. He has been repeatedly sued in Kansas over adding qualifications to the state voter registration form, including targeting out-of-staters who have moved there. That creates new barriers to vote in local and state elections. Kobach’s anti-democratic partisanship was in sync with another clumsy display this week from another outspoken voter suppressor on Trump’s election panel; Hans von Spakovsky, who led the second Bush administration’s voter fraud crusade at the Justice Department, was caught lying about his email-based efforts to keep Democrats from being on Trump’s panel.
Trump’s election commission keeps getting clownish grades for its antics. This week’s New Hampshire field hearing invited only white men to testify, prompting ridicule. Members were caught communicating via private emails for official business—the same thing right-wingers went crazy about when Hillary Clinton did it. But Kobach didn’t backtrack on his voter fraud claims and von Spakovsky didn’t resign. No, they forged ahead with the panel’s real goal: to impede any citizen who doesn’t support the GOP from voting, even as fellow panel members publicly chastised them for it.