Voter ID

Trump Kills Incompetent 'Election Integrity' Commission, But His Voter Fraud Conspiracy Theory Lives On

Even while euthanizing the bureaucratic expression of his electoral fantasies, the president continues to play vote-counting politics with the Department of Homeland Security and Census.

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Get 'im next time, little buddy! ||| Sipa USA/TNS/Newscom
Sipa USA/TNS/Newscom

Last night, in an unexpected announcement, President Donald Trump dissolved his Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which had been assembled in March to add investigatory heft to the president's factually ludicrous claim that between three million and five million people voted illegally for Hillary Clinton in 2016. The commission, operationally managed by vice chair Kris Kobach, who as Kansas Secretary of State has emerged as the nation's leading elected voter-fraud conspiracist, had been riddled from the start by a lack of transparency, brazen attempts to create a national voter database out of compelled state data, and lawsuits from its own members. Over at The Volokh Conspiracy, Ilya Somin spells out in detail how its demise marks "a victory for federalism."

But not quite a victory for rationality. The White House's brief statement begins with the defiant sentence, "Despite substantial evidence of voter fraud, many states have refused to provide the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity with basic information relevant to its inquiry." This even though Kovach, in his capacity as the official in charge of overseeing elections in Kansas, has prosecuted just nine illegal voters, eight of whom (according to Mother Jones) "were citizens who voted in two different states, and most of them were over 60 years old, owned property in both places, and were confused about voting requirements."

The president this morning made a Kinsley gaffe in his tweetsplanation of the decision:

When the purpose of your commission is to root out a partisan conception of voter fraud, rather than the titular and theoretically bipartisan goal of election integrity, choosing a hack like Kobach makes sense. An advisory body seeking to live up to its actual name would better be composed of officials and specialists with respect on both sides of the aisle (and hopefully among those many on the outside of the two-party system), while focusing on all aspects of potential integrity violations, not just the most popular claim on one side.

So does this mark the end of the administration's exertions on the issue? No. Trump "has asked the Department of Homeland Security to review its initial findings and determine next courses of action," whatever that means. And his habit of foregrounding partisan electoral math in personnel and policy decisions involving nonpartisan bodies has also taken expression in the potentially influential location of…the Census Bureau.

The Department of Justice last month officially requested that the Census Bureau include in its decennial questionnaire for the first time since 1950 whether respondents are citizens of the United States, arguing that the information is necessary "to fully enforce" the Voting Rights Act. (The bureau does ask about citizenship in its annual American Community Survey, which is conducted on a sample basis, and has little comparative impact.) "This is a recipe for sabotaging the census," Arturo Vargas, a member of the Census Bureau's National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic, and Other Populations, alleged to ProPublica.

Critics warn that the question, coupled with the Trump administration's increased deportations (and threats thereof) of illegal immigrants, will lead to an undercounting of households, neighborhoods, and populations with higher proportions of undocumented residents. This in turn would change the composition of the House of Representatives, and the way legislative districts are drawn. One way to assuage such suspicions would be to appoint a 2020 Census overseer with an academic and/or civil-service pedigree far removed from the scrum of bare-knuckle politics. President Trump, according to six weeks of reporting, has chosen a second path.

NTTAWWT ||| Amazon
Amazon

Trump's pick for deputy director (and operational executive) of the Census Bureau is reportedly set to be Thomas Brunell, author of the 2008 book, Redistricting and Representation: Why Competitive Elections Are Bad for America. Brunell's main professional focus vis-à-vis measuring populations has been to argue on behalf of the Republican Party that legislative districts be drawn up to more heavily concentrate partisan and ethnic/racial groupings. Mother Jones takes a jaundiced tour through Brunell's work, and outraged reactions to his appointment, here, including:

Democrats in Congress have also raised concerns about Brunell's appointment. (The deputy director position does not require Senate confirmation.) "Dr. Brunell has neither the managerial experience nor the non-partisan reputation to fill this position," Sens. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Gary Peters (D-Mich.) wrote to Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on December 21. (The Census Bureau is part of the Commerce Department.) "The appointment of Dr. Brunell would be a significant departure from past practices and would further undermine the Census Bureau's efforts to increase public trust in the Census. It would also raise questions about the Administration's intent to comply with the constitutionally mandated requirement to complete an accurate count of the U.S. population."

It is naïve to expect the administration of politics, and the selection of political appointments, to be nonpolitical. It's also frequently inaccurate to assume a lack of partisan lean among purportedly apolitical experts in this field or that. But as we continue this mini-era of two-party polarization and distrust (even as many individuals opt-out of that binary), it's appropriate to be on heightened alert when any administration, at any level of government, prioritizes the concerns and advocates from one side of the vote-counting wars while making policies that affect all of us.

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70 responses to “Trump Kills Incompetent 'Election Integrity' Commission, But His Voter Fraud Conspiracy Theory Lives On

  1. There’s an easy way to shut him up.

    Take real measurements.

    I mean, that wouldn’t actually shut him up, but it would moot his objections and make his criticisms meaningless.

    As it stands, the reticence to actually find answers has the problem of giving people something they can claim is suspicious and nefarious.

    1. Reticence to find answers?

      I think we’re past reticence.

      Near violent hostility to even the suggestion of looking into the problem is where we are.

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    2. The votes were counted. What more are you talking about?

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    4. I’m all for that. Maybe after they get the real numbers, they’ll find out Trump was right all along.

      After all, where has there ever been a full investigation into whether voters were legal or not? I say, test the hypothesis. Pick a couple dozen precincts in Los Angeles and track down and verify the status of every single voter who voted. Any who are criminal aliens – put them up against a wall and shoot them for undermining our democracy. For each one shot, investigate another precinct.

      That would serve several purposes. It would let the criminal aliens know we’re serious about them not fucking with our Country. It would tell the left-wing Hitlery apologists that we’d called their bluff. And it would put the fear of death into all those hiding out in “sanctuary cities” who should never have entered the US.

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  2. That stampeding sound you hear is droves of people who like to style themselves as “small government conservatives” rushing to argue that establishing a sham commission to target your political enemies, staffing it with cronies, and abolishing it after accomplishing nothing is a perfectly prudent use of government resources, and it’s the state governments that refused to submit huge swaths their citizens’ personal information to the feds that are the real villains in this story.

      1. Aw, it’s good to be noticed. But I ever really went anywhere. I’ve just been posting less the past couple of months, partly because of work demands and partly because you can only dip into a shit-flinging contest to call Mikey a glue-huffing retard so many times before it gets old. I guess I hang around because I like being reminded of the old days (*cue misty-eyed look*).

        1. As boring and tiresome as this place is now, I don’t miss ‘the old days.’ They blew, too.

          1. Well that’s…probably true, I’ll cop to having rose-tinted glasses. I probably can’t hope to find a political forum that’s not full of children, morons, and trolls, because there’s no internet forum *for any topic* that meets that requirement, but when it comes to political topics dealing with idiots just makes me so much more heated and confrontational than other topics do.

            So when a place that I once viewed as being full of more or less like-minded people becomes a hive of Trump apologia (referring just to the quality of the commenters), I guess I take it personally.

    1. Most of the information they wanted is already public so the posturing on both sides is pretty funny. Kind of like objecting to voter ID laws. If team red stops a few legit voters or team blue allows some illegal voters they see it as collateral damage. Neither tribe will ever admit this so the Kabuki plays on.

      Pretending that no fraud goes on in D machine bailiwicks like Chicago or Philly is completely ignorant of historical evidence. Given the solid blue nature of these places it hardly matters with the electoral college system, with a popular vote it would be another story.

      I’ve never voted for an R and Carter was the last D where Xed a ballot. Having become more libertarian leaning over the years I’ll take gridlock every time.

  3. I will consider it a point in his favor if Trump blunders into undermining public trust in the Census to the extent that there is widespread noncompliance.

    1. That will never happen as long as there are policians around to nudge their constituents into “being counted!” for the sake of collecting their “fair share” of Fedbucks.

      1. Wait, I thought the purpose of the census was about apportioning seats in Congress. How did it become about money?

        1. They dole out all kinds of federal goodies proportionately so pols care. That way both D’s and R’s can share photo ops when a pork project comes to pass.

    2. So we’ve found someone willing to openly oppose the motto of Faber College

  4. “Critics warn that the question, coupled with the Trump administration’s increased deportations (and threats thereof) of illegal immigrants, will lead to an undercounting of households, neighborhoods, and populations with higher proportions of undocumented residents. This in turn would change the composition of the House of Representatives, and the way legislative districts are drawn. One way to assuage such suspicions ”

    This sounds like the suspicions you want to assuage are that counting will result in correct apportionment based on legal population.

    1. Except that apportionment is based on total population, not “legal” population, per the plain language of the 14th Amendment (“Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed.”). The Supreme Court put a unanimous bullet through the head of your little extra-textual fantasy in 2016.

      1. So we don’t count the guy from New Delhi who’s working under the table?

      2. So what you’re saying is if we import a million or two people into, say, New Jersey the month of the Cencus from Russia that we can count the Russians, increase the apportionment of New Jersey in Congress, and then ship all those people back to Russia and there is absolutely zero problem with that legally.

        Cool.

      3. Republicans should be pushing for a constitutional amendment to set apportionment according to legal residents, if not citizens.

        Just a no brainer.

      4. Fourteenth amendment seems to remedy that by reducing representation by the percentage of 21+ year old males who cannot legally vote.

        Section 2. Representatives shall be apportioned among the several States according to their respective numbers, counting the whole number of persons in each State, excluding Indians not taxed. But when the right to vote at any election for the choice of electors for President and Vice President of the United States, Representatives in Congress, the Executive and Judicial officers of a State, or the members of the Legislature thereof, is denied to any of the male inhabitants of such State, being twenty-one years of age, and citizens of the United States, or in any way abridged, except for participation in rebellion, or other crime, the basis of representation therein shall be reduced in the proportion which the number of such male citizens shall bear to the whole number of male citizens twenty-one years of age in such State.

    2. “Critics warn that the question, coupled with the Trump administration’s increased deportations (and threats thereof) of illegal immigrants, will lead to an undercounting of households, neighborhoods, and populations with higher proportions of undocumented residents.

      Feature, not bug.

      1. Yes, undermining the apparent legitimacy of a democratic republic while ensuring that policy will disproportionately benefit the minority. I see nothing but upside.

  5. Hasn’t Trump learned yet? It’s way easier just to shout “The Russians did it!”

  6. This sounds like the suspicions you want to assuage are that counting will result in correct apportionment based on legal population.

    That would be a strange thing to be worried about, since Congressional apportionment is done on the basis of total population, not population of legal citizens.

    1. No one said anything about legal citizens though, so your repsonse is even more strange.

      1. Rereading your post I think I misunderstood your meaning; I apologize. You can disregard my other comment.

        1. Nah, I don’t think I will. You seem like a dick. I don’t see much need to be gracious.

          1. Nah I was just fucking with you, we’re cool.

            1. oh, lol. you had me going there

          2. Uh, OK, that’s a strange tact to take, but sure. So, when you say “correct apportionment based on legal population”, are you referring to the standard in the Constitution and relevant laws, or some other standard? I’m just trying to clarify exactly what your original comment was intended to say.

      2. And honestly, it wouldn’t be strange at all. Finding the actual, legally defined population of an area would remove a lot of graft opportunities for politicians.

  7. I’ll believe US elections are honest when one side stops complaining about minimal efforts to ensure voters are actually eligible to vote.

    1. This. There is absolutely no excuse for it. I’m not going to go through logical inconsistencies of claiming identification is racist.

      Further, one side claims there is “NO PROOF”, while simultaneously ensuring that no evidence can be gathered.

      It is beyond suspicious to any reasonable person.

      1. Reasonable person = someone who doesn’t need evidence to know something is a problem.

        1. Reasonable person = someone who doesn’t need evidence to know something is a problem.

          Correct. I don’t need evidence beyond my own observations to be pretty certain that there are hundreds of thousands of votes cast illegally every national election. In a country of 330 million people, anything less than that is implausible beyond belief. That’s not illegals casting votes, it’s multiple voting, voting for family members, fraud by election officials, felons, etc.

          Furthermore, citizens need confidence in the integrity of the election system, and absence of evidence is insufficient for that; we need evidence of absence of voter fraud.

      2. “logical inconsistencies of claiming identification is racist.”

        Oh, I’m sure that’d be impressive.

      3. This.

        We had a Senate race in 2016 in which the number of questionable votes exceeded the margin of victory. The resulting investigation… deafening silence. If it was anything else, Reason writers would have stuffed their fingers in their ears.

        http://www.unionleader.com/pol…..y-09072017

        1. Yup. I don’t think the overall number of illegal votes is huge, almost certainly not in the millions as some claim… But there is no legit reason to be afraid of reasonable protections to avoid sketchy votes happening. The main thrust comes down to whatever sketchy voting does happen almost certainly leans towards helping Democrats, which is why they decry any improvements in making sure things are on the up and up, and also why Republicans are all for trying to root out whatever issues do happen.

          Being originally from California I can’t say how many illegals vote, but I guarantee it is a number that is far higher than zero. Illegals have been caught doing it, surveys have had people admit to being illegal and also voting, and illegals have even accidentally admitted to it in public on camera before! So while it’s probably not a HUGE issue, it is real, and in some rare instances like the election above might actually matter for changing some small number of elections.

    2. “Minimal efforts” were and continue to be in place throughout the country.

      What’s objectionable is the constant shifting of goalposts to require ever higher burdens in order to establish eligibility to vote. No, it apparently wasn’t enough to show up with proof of your identity and criminal liability if you lied. So they started requiring state-issued IDs. But only some state-issued IDs! And to get those IDs, you needed to get the right documents together, and you better hope that you didn’t have any issues with those documents (like typos).

      But IDs weren’t enough. Then they started adding restrictions to registration drivers, voting hours, cutting budgets to keep polls open, and on and on.

      No one is opposed to “minimal efforts” to ensure the legitimacy of the vote. It’s just that one side wants to decide what those “minimal efforts” are based on whether it helps them win elections they shouldn’t have won.

      1. Except that’s not what happened.

        The ID required is the same type required to get a check cashed, or rent a car, or open a bank account, or apply for social services–or register to vote.

        Voting hours have been massively expanded–in some states it’s better called ‘election month’

        That’s reality.

        But this is spot on–

        No one is opposed to “minimal efforts” to ensure the legitimacy of the vote. It’s just that one side wants to decide what those “minimal efforts” are based on whether it helps them win elections they shouldn’t have won.

        The only effort Democrats and the left approve of are those that enable fraud, those that eliminate transparency. Anything that makes it easier to silence voices that are non-leftist are okay by them.

        Because the very idea that having to use the same ID that one uses to cash a check–from any source, be it a stock dividend or a welfare check–favors one side over another is just imbecilic.

  8. We should be concentrating on Russian hacking of the election.

    1. Thanks Gary. Your pandering to the Left had invited people like this who won’t let go of the Russian BS because they don’t like Trump.

      1. He’s being sarcastic. Kind of highlights the idiocy of Welch here who has gone full Gillespie over the past few months.

        Reason is basically saying : “Russian collision is totes real, even though no evidence has been found and the whole investigation was triggered by dubious opposition research, but voter fraud never happens, even though we know for a fact it does, just not in the frequency as Trump alleges”

        We’re reading Think Progress talking points now

  9. Is anyone going to talk about the DNC heads who admitted to busing in voters on film. Then they resigned after it became public. Oh nothing to see here, move along? All right.

    1. Things like that can’t happen!

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5clRUG18At0

  10. Your girl still lost Matt.

  11. ” It would also raise questions about the Administration’s intent to comply with the constitutionally mandated requirement to complete an accurate count of the U.S. population.””

    Why doesn’t the administration just statistically sample America? Or is that out of fashion now that trump is at the levers of power?

  12. ” It would also raise questions about the Administration’s intent to comply with the constitutionally mandated requirement to complete an accurate count of the U.S. population.””

    Why doesn’t the administration just statistically sample America? Or is that out of fashion now that trump is at the levers of power?

  13. Typical lies from unReason and crackpot lying leftist presstitute, Matt Welch. Voter fraud is well documented and there have been a number of prosecutions, but you won’t find the truth on the far left unReason. For the truth you have to go to Brietbart.

    http://www.breitbart.com/big-g…..d-by-dems/

    Now let me ask you, do you like being lied to by unReason?

    1. Fuck off, troll.

      1. The idea that there isn’t substantial illegal voting in the US is absurd: people voting in place of family members, felons, green card holders, illegals, people with dementia, double voting, fraud by election officials, etc. There must be hundreds of thousands of illegal votes every election, even without any deliberate attempt at organized fraud. The question is whether it’s just a few hundred thousand votes or whether it’s more and whether specific types of efforts contribute substantially.

        WoodNFish is justified in being angry at this article. The troll here is you because you try to deny the obvious.

  14. As long as Democrat strongholds refuse to allow any look behind the curtain I’ll use Detroit as the Democrat Gold Standard for clean and fair election results.

    By those standards you can lop off a good quarter of Democrat votes as either fictitious or fraudulent at some level. After all they’ve now had 2 elections where the recount couldn’t be certified because the original totals and the recount were so at odds which says nothing of the votes that did appear and whether they actually represented individual unique citizens.

    Thanks Jill Stein.

  15. I don’t understand how Reason can be sooo fucking stupid about some issues. NO there weren’t likely millions of votes cast by illegals… But you guys are seriously going out of your way on so many issues to refuse to admit nuggets of truth in a lot of things Trump has been saying.

    I’d rather have Ron Paul in the White House alright, but Trump is the idiot who is in there, and he’s a lot better than HRC would have been. Call him on shit when it’s legit! But don’t delude yourself into ignoring the things he’s right on, or the many more things where there are nuggets of truth that he blows out of proportion. You should be talking about how the numbers he uses are too high, not how it’s INSANE to believe it ever happens EVAR. It makes you look as retarded as WaPo or NYT.

    I guarantee plenty of illegals have voted. Living in Cali I knew plenty who received benefits they weren’t legally entitled to, had all the good fake docs, and I know plenty of them must have been voting too. There have been plenty caught doing it, and with all the intentional wink-wink skirting of laws Democratic politicians have done I doubt even a small number ever got flagged, let alone prosecuted. Even if it’s not a big number, it should be stopped on the principle of the thing.

    1. As for not counting illegals for allocation of house members… Good. Sloppy wording in the constitution may technically mean EVERYBODY is supposed to be counted, but states with tons of illegals don’t need to be getting any bonus reps because of those people illegally being there.

      Citizens should be all that counts IMO. I mean should legal temp workers in states be counted too? Or tourists on vacation? Clearly it should be based upon citizens, not random assholes hanging out in an area at a certain arbitrary time. Illegals should have no more representation than a Japanese tourist visiting Hollywood, which is to say NONE.

      This is coming from someone who is part Mexican on my moms side. I would kick every last one of those fuckers back to wherever they came from. Then we need a points based immigration system. If they can’t pass then they can live in the country they’re actually from, not here. We don’t need more dishwashers in 21st century America, we have too many unskilled people as is.

      1. There’s a thing to remember as well.

        Perspective–

        Trump lost the popular vote by about 2 million votes. Does anyone really believe that there were two million fraudulent votes? That’s A LOT of votes.

        Trump lost the popular vote by less than three quarters of a percent. Less than three quarters of a percent–that’s a tiny number.

        One looks insurmountable. One looks like the work of mere moments.

        1. Truth. With the illegal voting thing, honestly, it is hard to say. The official numbers showed a peak of 11-12ish million illegals a few years back, down to around 10 mil now. Some other estimates put it at 15-20+ million. Nobody knows for sure.

          BUT assume that 20% of 10 mil voted, well there’s 2 million votes right there, maybe more when there were more here. I wouldn’t think 20% of them do vote, but almost 100% of them break equally serious laws like using fake social security numbers, saying they’re citizens on paperwork to receive benefits, etc etc etc.

          If it’s 1% that does it that’s still 100,000 votes potentially. I could definitely imagine in places like California that 1% feel emboldened enough to vote illegally. I could even imagine it reasonably being higher than that. I don’t think national elections swing on those votes often, but local ones might in areas with big illegal populations.

          Whatever the number, it should be addressed. The only reason Dems don’t want to do it is because 100% of whatever votes being cast are for them…

        2. Trump lost the popular vote by about 2 million votes. Does anyone really believe that there were two million fraudulent votes? That’s A LOT of votes.

          As you point out, two million votes isn’t that much anyway. We’re not just talking about illegal aliens voting, we’re talking about ex-felons, elderly with dementia, people who vote on behalf of family members (whether living or dead), and people who vote multiple times (e.g. by mail and in person). The idea that there aren’t at least a few hundred thousand votes cast in violation of voting laws every election is absurd, and we ought to find out how many there are. It’s probably somewhere between 100000 and 2 million.

    2. I don’t understand how Reason can be sooo fucking stupid about some issues. NO there weren’t likely millions of votes cast by illegals

      There may easily have been of the order of a million fraudulent votes, however, once you take into account multiple voting and voting by felons: a million votes is just 0.3% of American citizens, which would actually be a very low fraud rate.

  16. We still get voter mail from the government for the former owner of our house in Maryland, which we bought 13 years ago. She now lives in Virginia but she’s still on the rolls here. All you have to tell the poll workers is your name and birthday to be allowed to vote. Don’t tell me there isn’t rife voter fraud in this country, especially in democrat-controlled jurisdictions heavy with immigrants the poor, just like Tammany Hall ran.

  17. Voter fraud is not substantially different from credit card fraud: its existence doesn’t require a “conspiracy”, and the way to deal with it is the same way: through stronger identification requirements and better fraud detection methods.

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