From the New York Times
President Trump on Wednesday [3 January] abruptly shut down a White House commission he had charged with investigating voter fraud, ending a brief quest for evidence of election theft that generated lawsuits, outrage and some scholarly testimony, but no real evidence that American elections are corrupt.The authors take the dissolution of the panel as a sort of proof that there was no problem to find anyway.
Trump Disbands Commission on Voter Fraud by Michael Tackett and Michael Wines, New York Times, January 3, 2018
Mr. Trump did not acknowledge the commission’s inability to find evidence of fraud, but cast the closing as a result of continuing legal challenges. “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,” Mr. Trump said in a White House statement.But Trump isn’t giving up.
“Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today I signed an executive order to dissolve the commission, and have asked the Department of Homeland Security to review these issues and determine next courses of action,” he said.So he plans to have the DHS study the problem.
Of course, the NYT authors are quick to deny that there even is a problem with the integrity of our elections.
In fact, no state has uncovered significant evidence to support the president’s claim, and election officials, including many Republicans, have strongly rejected it.The fact is, there is much evidence of potential problems, but the usual suspects just don’t want it investigated.
Sadly, the dissolution of the panel means that Kris Kobach now has no role in the administration, except that, says the article “Mr. Kobach…said he would remain as an informal adviser to homeland security”.
The closing of the commission was a blow for Kris Kobach, the secretary of state of Kansas and the panel’s vice chairman. Mr. Kobach was one of a few state officials to support Mr. Trump’s contention of widespread fraud. But Mr. Kobach insisted in an interview that the commission’s work would not end but rather would be transferred to the Department of Homeland Security, one of the federal agencies charged with ensuring election integrity and one that he said critics would find more difficult to target.Kobach should have been put in charge of DHS from the beginning.
As a White House commission, the voter-fraud panel was subject to public-disclosure requirements and other restrictions that Mr. Kobach said opponents of the inquiry had seized on in “a determined effort by the left” to hamstring its investigation. At last count, he said, the panel faced at least eight lawsuits accusing it of ignoring various federal requirements, including one from a commission member, Matthew Dunlap, the Maine secretary of state, that claimed he had been illegally excluded from its deliberations. “It got to the point where the staff of the commission was spending more time responding to litigation than doing an investigation,” Mr. Kobach said. “Think of it as an option play; a decision was made in the middle of the day to pass the ball. The Department of Homeland Security is going to be able to move faster and more efficiently than a presidential advisory commission.”A DHS spokesman spoke about the dissolution.
A spokesman for homeland security, Tyler Q. Houlton, said on Wednesday that “the department continues to focus our efforts on securing elections against those who seek to undermine the election system or its integrity.” “We will do this in support of state governments who are responsible for administering elections,” he added.That’s really the best thing that can be done – not stop state governments that want secure voter ID.