White House Official and DHS Debunk Trump’s Voter Fraud Lies

If deceitful Don Trump had even a modicum of shame, the news of yet another of his lies being debunked by his own White House would send the mendacious miscreant into hiding; but Trump has no shame any more than he has an honest bone in his corrupt body. After months of Trump’s tired claim that he was a victim of “massive voter fraud” in the 2016 election, Trump’s lie was put to rest by Trump’s  White House “announcement” that Trump’s “controversial voter fraud commission” failed to “uncover any findings of voter fraud in the 2016 general election.” The announcement comes a few days after Trump’s announcement disbanding the ridiculous “commission.”

Since Trump’s pathological narcissism prevented him from accepting that he lost the 2016 popular vote by about 2.8 million votes to Hillary Clinton, he claimed there was “massive voter fraud” in numbers exceeding about 2.8 million votes. So he tasked preacher Pence and Kris Kobach with convening a “commission” to ferret out “vulnerabilities in voting systems” that lead to the massive voter fraud Trump complained about. Trump even claimed that the commission had actually uncovered “substantial” voter fraud findings that were going to be handed to the Department of Homeland Security for further investigation and prosecution.

Commission co-chair, voter fraud fanatic, and current Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach joined Trump in lying about the “evidence” and told Breitbart News last week that the commission’s significant findings were being “handed off” to the Department of Homeland Security because “Democrats were becoming uncomfortable with how much [evidence] Republicans had discovered thus far.” Like Trump, Kobach is a dirty liar because the official word from the White House was that there are zero findings so the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would be receiving zero records, findings, or data.

Kobach was not finished lying and said that despite Trump abolishing “the commission,” as a state official from Kansas he was too important to be ignored and would be in the middle of the federal effort to stop “massive voter fraud.” Kobach said he would be:

“Working closely with the White House and DHS to ensure the investigations continue. What’s happening is a tactical shift where the mission of the commission is being handed off to Homeland Security without the stonewalling by Democrats. They have absolutely no interest in stopping voter fraud. It’s truly extraordinary that one party in our system has made clear that they don’t care. Some people on the left were getting uncomfortable about how much we were finding out.”

Kobach must be maneuvering for a top spot among Trump’s liar’s club elite, because everything he said regarding “the commission” is a lie; and the Department of Homeland Security called him out. A DHS spokesperson put it bluntly:

Mr. Kobach is not advising DHS in a formal or informal manner. Of course, if an issue were to arise, we would work with him in his official capacity as the Kansas secretary of state as we do with any secretary of state and other state and local officials.”

The White House “officially” contradicting Trump and Kobach came in the form of a “sworn court declaration” by Donald J. Trump’s director of White House Information Technology, Charles Herndon.

Mr. Herndon said no matter what Kobach claimed, there would be “no Commission records or data transferred to the DHS or another agency” because the commission had no findings to “hand off.”  He did say that whatever “data” the “Commission” possessed would be given to “NARA [the National Archives and Records Administration] in accordance with federal law.” Otherwise the White House will destroy any state voter data pending a lawsuit against the “Commission” by a member of the “commission.”

This news that the commission found zero evidence of voter fraud is no revelation, but it does expose another Trump lie; that he disbanded the commission to save taxpayer dollars in legal fights with the states. It is not clear if Trump’s commission actually intended to take 44 Republican and Democratic states to court and attempt to force them to violate constitutional privacy laws or not. However, even Trump’s lawyers and Department of Justice had to fathom the folly of such an absurd scenario.

Besides finding zero evidence of any voter fraud, it is possible that “the commission” may have had to reveal the one legitimate “vulnerability in the voting systems” that Kris Kobach and Mike Pence embrace because it suppresses votes. Both of “the commission” co-chairs support Kobach’s “Interstate Crosscheck Program” that was devised specifically to create the appearance of “duplicate voter registrations” in the millions.

In fact, using the “Crosscheck” data of a person’s name and year of birth, the Washington Post discovered that in the 2016 general election:

Mike Pence registered to vote eight times and cast seven ballots across six states in the November 2016 election.”

It appears that Trump’s Voter Integrity Commission co-chair and vice president committed vote fraud several times in the last election and escaped detection or prosecution.  But all that really happened was that eight different men named Mike Pence born the same year as Trump’s Pence registered to vote in 2016, and seven of them went to the polls and cast a ballot. It is highly likely that neither Kobach nor Pence want any media reporting that their “Crosscheck” system is just a deceitful means of suppressing votes.

Despite report after study proving that “suspected vote fraud” was at most about 0.0000002 percent in the 2016 election, Trump and Republicans maintain it is a massive problem. That minute percentage squares with another humongous comprehensive study published in 2015 and ignored by Republicans nationwide. The study found that from 2000 to 2014 out of 1.2 billion votes cast in every federal, state, city, municipal and county election for every elected office in America, there were exactly 31 “officially suspected” cases of voter fraud. That amount of  “suspected fraud” is not “massive;” it is 0.0000000026 percent and yet since 2008 Republicans have used every voter suppression tactic under the Sun based on their assertion of “massive” voter fraud destroying democracy.

There is massive voter fraud but it is at the hands of lying Republicans with valuable assistance from the Koch brothers’ legislative arm, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). There have been never-ending attacks on voting rights by Republicans nationwide and their typical ploy is founded on some devious ALEC-created legislation that only stops people of color and the poor from voting because they do not support Republicans.

The White House actually admitting that the real reason Trump had to disband his vaunted voter integrity clown show was because there were zero findings of voter fraud should have sent the lying Trump and Kobach into hiding. Despite the White House and Department of Homeland Security debunked Trump’s and Kobach’s lies about voter fraud, the Republicans will ramp up their attacks on voting rights in the upcoming midterm elections. Now that Republicans understand they can lie profusely and face no repercussions, Americans can expect a monumental Republican crusade to implement Pence and Kobach’s beloved “Crosscheck” system nationwide; not to stop voter fraud, but to aid the fascist Trump put the final nail in American democracy’s coffin.

SCOTUS Deals a Blow To Anti-Democracy North Carolina Republicans

 

At a juncture in the nation’s history when a corrupt fascist in the White House is beginning his own serious attack on the right to vote and democracy, this time in oppressing the right to vote, there was a surprising but welcomed bit of good news for voters; at least voters in North Carolina. The Republican dominated state and its anti-democracy legislature had led the nation in imposing Jim Crow-type laws specifically targeting African Americans voting rights because they are less-inclined to vote for Republicans.

Civil rights groups have spent no small amount of time and money fighting to stop the blatant vote suppression tactics favored by the Koch brothers’ legislative arm ALEC; particularly in North Carolina. The various democracy-loving groups were likely worried that when the conservative Supreme Court heard this particular case, their battle would be finished and Republicans would have prevailed even after losing at the appellate court level.

There is little doubt voting rights organizations tempered their celebration after the 4th Circuit Court struck down the Republican voter suppression laws as patently unconstitutional. Republicans, especially North Carolina Republicans, have demonstrated that they will not countenance any attempts or court rulings meant to advance the cause of democracy and rule against voter suppression tactics.

In a surprising decision, the Supreme Court left in place a federal appeals court ruling that struck down key parts of North Carolina’s hateful voting laws. The Appellate Court had found the Republican voter suppression laws unconstitutional because, like Jim Crow, it specifically targeted African American voters unfairly and “imposed cures for problems that never existed.” As anyone concerned about the failing state of America’s barely breathing democracy, to state that the High Court’s ruling is a major victory for civil rights groups, people of color and the democratic process in North Carolina is a minor understatement.

The High Court decision let stand the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that North Carolina Republicans had acted “with almost surgical precision” to shut down African American voting rights in the state. In writing for the 4th Circuit striking down the law, Judge Diana Gribbon Mott said that not only did the ALEC-devised law “target African Americans with almost surgical precision,” it “impose[d] cures for problems that did not exist. Thus the asserted justifications cannot and do not conceal the State’s true motivation.” Of course the North Carolina Republicans’ “true motivation” was restricting voting rights of any North Carolinian who is not a white evangelical.

North Carolina led the nation in anti-democratic voting laws after the conservatives on the Supreme Court abolished a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act In 2013, and eliminated any federal oversight over the former Confederate states with a history of naked discrimination against African American voters. And according to the reaction from North Carolina’s Republican legislature, they are not finished building on their history of vote suppression and pledged to “enact new voting restrictions” despite the Courts’ rulings or any silly Voting Rights Act.

North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore (R) joined president pro-tempore of the Senate Phil Berger (R) and issued a joint statement saying:

All North Carolinians can rest assured that Republican legislators will continue fighting to protect the integrity of our elections by implementing the common sense requirement to show a photo ID when we vote.”

It is noteworthy that there have been absolutely zero cases of in-person voter fraud in North Carolina without the Republicans’ nasty law.  It is also worth remarking that the 4th Circuit decision noted that as far as voter identification is concerned, the N.C. Republican voter identification provision “retained only those types of photo ID held by whites and deliberately excluded, disproportionately, those held by African Americans.

The Appellate Court also said that Republicans “failed to identify even one single individual who has ever been charged with committing in-person voter fraud in North Carolina.” However, it did find a fair amount of evidence of fraud in absentee voting by mail; the preferred method “used disproportionately by white voters” because the voter ID law does not apply to mail-in or absentee voting.

Although anti-democracy Republicans were disappointed at the High Court’s decision, civil and voting rights groups were understandably pleased. For example, one of the lawyers for the plaintiffs, Daniel T. Donovan said, “This is the law of the land in the Fourth Circuit.”

The Director of the American Civil Liberty Union’s (ACLU) Voting Rights Project, Dale Ho said, “An ugly chapter in voter suppression is finally closing.”

And North Carolina’s new Democratic Governor Roy Cooper issued a statement saying,

Today’s announcement is good news for North Carolina voters. We need to be making it easier to vote, not harder.”

Although this is good news all around for the democratic process in North Carolina, and a blow to North Carolina Republican attempts to suppress African Americans’ right to vote, it is noteworthy to mention that the fight to participate in democracy is not yet over for North Carolina African Americans. As Chief Justice John Roberts noted, yesterday’s decision not to hear or rule on the case does “not necessarily” set a legal precedent and does not mean the conservative court will not endorse and legalize Jim Crow laws in the future. In fact, history and conventional wisdom informs that the conservative majority will legalize Jim Crow to aid Republican electoral chances.

However, today in North Carolina there is reason to celebrate and in these darkest of days for America’s waning democracy, even a temporary blow to fascist Republicans is one all Americans should savor. Because with Trump setting his sights with an anti-democracy zealot Khris Kobach on making it nearly impossible to cast a ballot for anyone except white Christians, there is every reason to believe that North Carolina’s hateful voter suppression law will be the model for a national law criminalizing people of color even attempting to participate in democracy.

Jon Ossoff’s Opponent is Furious  At Ruling Allowing More Georgians To Vote

 

It is no stretch to claim that Republicans and their various operatives and legislative activists are opposed to the democratic process allowing all citizens to vote. As no small number of pundits and commenters have noted often, if Republicans were unable to suppress the vote or block access to the polls, they would not be in control of the government. However, they are in control of the government and the thought of losing even one seat in Congress has incited outrage from a former Georgia secretary of state seeking an open House seat.

The Republican facing off against political newcomer Jon Ossoff (D) in Georgia’s open seat House race, Karen Handel, sent out an email to her supporters in the form of an “election alert;” an emergency “alert” that she warned “should make your blood boil.” The blood boiling alert was that a Federal Judge appointed by George W. Bush had just ruled that Georgia election officials were bound to abide by a federal law, the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

That 1993 federal law states that “all eligible citizens should be allowed to vote if they register at least 30 days before an election.” The Georgia runoff election is set for June 20 and the Judge’s order means that the March 20 cutoff day for voter registration was illegal and had to be extended to May 21; 30 days before the election.

Karen Handel, Mr. Ossoff’s Republican opponent, is renowned in Georgia for being a pioneering vote suppressor.” Kira Lerner at ThinkProgress noted that just prior to the 2008 General Election, as Georgia secretary of state Handel “spearheaded an illegal purge of Georgia’s [voter] rolls and flagged thousands of voter registrations as potential non-citizens.” As is usually the case in Republican voter purges, a fair number of Georgia voters stricken from the rolls were actually eligible American citizens, and likely Democratic voters.

The Federal District Court Judge presiding over the lawsuit to extend voter registration according to the law, Timothy Batten, had to issue a ruling for democracy.  The lawsuit was brought by four voting rights groups and the “Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights.” They argued successfully that Georgia’s 90-day registration cutoff violated the National Voter Registration Act’s rule allowing “all eligible citizens” to cast ballots if they register at least 30 days prior to the election.

In concurring with the plaintiff’s argument and enforcing the Federal NVRA Judge Batten wrote:

If a preliminary injunction is not granted requiring defendants to process voter-registration applications received after the previous deadline of March 20, numerous voters who would otherwise be eligible to vote in the runoff will be denied that right.”

After the Court’s ruling, John Ossoff responded as one expects all democracy-loving Americans and said:

Voting rights are constitutional rights. I encourage all eligible voters to ensure that they are registered and make their voices heard on June 20th and in all elections, regardless of their party or political persuasion.”

Karen Handel, had a different response that typifies Republican opposition to fair election practices and the Federal Judiciary. In her fundraising email, Handel claimed “Democrats win lawsuit to change the election.” And, through her spokesperson she called the ruling by U.S. District Judge Timothy Batten a “partisan attempt to change the rules… for a nakedly partisan outcome.”

There are several fallacious statements in Handel’s remarks beginning with the claim that the Democrats’ lawsuit “changed the election.” The lawsuit, as noted above, was brought by four different voting rights groups and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights. It is also noteworthy that the Judge did not rule according to partisanship or “change the election.” He ruled according to a 24-year old federal law and the election will proceed on the scheduled date as previously planned. As far as “a nakedly partisan outcome,” Handel is doing what Republicans do as a matter of course; accuse members of the Judiciary of partisanship when they rule according to the Constitution or federal statutes. This is particularly true when federal or state judges rule against Republican efforts to obstruct and suppress voting rights.

This Republican opposition to democracy, and suppressing or restricting voting is opposition to democracy, is rampant in GOP-majority states and particularly Southern Republican-dominated states. The Republicans have depended on the Koch brothers’ legislative arm, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) to aid their anti-democracy effort and it is why ALEC members refused to go on record supporting democracy.

The Judge’s ruling was not partisan in any way, shape, or form because it provides both Democrats and Republicans a legally-extended opportunity to register more people ahead of the June 20 election; a fact that Karen Handel is well aware of.

What really makes Handel’s blood boil is that more Georgia residents now have the opportunity to participate in the democratic process. Just the fact that Handel is opposed to more people participating in democracy is a telling sentiment that should give all Georgia voters pause to consider what kind of American is adamantly opposed to democracy.