WASHINGTON — A liberal academic called on her election law colleagues to refuse to participate in President Donald Trump’s new Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.
The commission is being led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who will be joined by up to 15 other members appointed by Trump.
“The president’s committed to the thorough review of registration and voting issues in federal elections,” said White House press secretary Sarah Sanders. “And that’s exactly what this commission is tasked with doing.”
Lorraine Minnite, a professor of political science and associate professor of public policy, at Rutgers University-Camden, sent an email to Rick Hasen’s election law listserv saying, “If the President does indeed create a commission to study voter fraud and voter suppression in the American election system to be headed by the Vice Preisdent and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, I’m calling on scholars of election administration to resist participation of any kind in such an effort.”
Minnite wrote a book in 2010 titled “The Myth of Voter Fraud.” Hasen, who runs the listserv, is an American lawyer and the chancellor’s professor of law at the University of California, Irvine School of Law. Hasen also runs the Election Law blog.
Minnite then wrote that a “Commission of scholars and voting rights advocates to gather information to inform the public.”
She explained, “Such a commission (or a working group of some kind) does not need the participation of partisan luminaries or politicians for credibility. With the assault on democracy underway, the most important divide is not between Democrats and Republicans, it is between lies and the truth, and democracy and authoritarianism. Please email me if you would like to be involved in organizing a non (not bi-) partisan commission on voter fraud and voter suppression to offer evidence, facts and analysis that the public will need to sort through what we can anticipate will come out of a Pence-Kobach Commission.”
Hasen also responded to the president’s voter fraud commission Thursday, telling Vice, that voter fraud is not as prevalent as the administration says it and Kobach “is someone who has trumpeted very broad claims of voter fraud.”
Hasen went on to say that Kobach “has claimed that there’s a lot of noncitizen voting. So far, courts that have examined these in the context of litigation against him have rejected his claims for a lack of evidence.”
He added, “He’s the one that Trump apparently relied on in coming up with this figure about millions of non-citizens voting. [His appointment] would not give me great confidence in the expected fairness of the process.”
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer attacked the commission saying in a statement, “This voter commission is a clear front for constricting the access to vote to poor Americans, older Americans, and – above all – African Americans and Latinos. Putting an extremist like Mr. Kobach at the helm of this commission is akin to putting an arsonist in charge of the fire department.”
Logan Churchwell, communications director at the Public Interest Legal Foundation responded to the attacks Thursday in a statement to The Daily Caller:
“The ink isn’t even on the paper yet and the #Resistance movement is already having fits. Why? Because the organized left is losing territory it, for generations, has lorded over with an almost perfect monopoly. Tinkering with election rules is a final safe harbor for a partisan entity that has lost on ideas and finds itself in the political wilderness. This is how the left acts when you play in their sandbox.”
Churchwell added, “Foes of the commission are trying to cover up crimes. They are accessories after the fact to voter fraud.”