A tip of the hat today to an unlikely recipient: Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.
On Thursday, as Common Cause published “Flawed From the Start,” a report highlighting the fraudulent nature of President Trump’s “Advisory Commission on Election Integrity,” Kobach was kind enough to provide additional evidence backing up our conclusion that the commission is a sham.
Writing in Breitbart News, where he’s a paid contributor, Kobach claimed to have found evidence of rampant voter fraud in the 2016 election. He cited a Washington Times report that more than 5,300 people who used out-of-state driver’s licenses to verify their identities when they registered and voted in New Hampshire last year have not registered their cars or obtained New Hampshire driver’s licenses in the months since. “It appears that they are not actually residing in New Hampshire,” he wrote.
Sounds like fraud, doesn’t it? Well it’s not.
A report published today on washingtonpost.com shreds Kobach’s claims. It turns out that an investigation last February by New Hampshire Public Radio demonstrated that most of the voters involved are college students, registering in their college towns, where they legally reside and have every right to vote.
If they have cars, those out-of-state students have no reason to transfer the registrations and no reason to get New Hampshire driver’s licenses. Their out-of-state licenses are as good in the Granite State as in their home states.
As it happens, nearly half of the 15,000-plus students enrolled at the University of New Hampshire come from other states. Dartmouth College in Durham, NH, one of the nation’s most elite schools, actually gets most of its 6,000 or so students from outside New Hampshire.
Dave Scanlan, New Hampshire’s deputy secretary of state, told the Boston Globe last fall that there have long been stories about busloads of people from Massachusetts driving into New Hampshire and registering to vote on Election Day.
“We never had any evidence of that actually happening, but Republicans have been long frustrated of the idea that they think it could happen,” Scanlan said.
As the Post’s Philip Bump writes, Kobach’s real game and that of the Trump commission is to pump up public fears about voter fraud and use them to impose new restrictions on registration and voting.
More from Bump: “This isn’t a game. Trump’s commission seems clearly designed to present fraud as a significant threat to the electoral system, a claim that’s belied by any number of studies, including one looking specifically at New Hampshire, and the lack of nearly any actual uncovered examples of it. (If millions voted illegally in California, as some have claimed, you’d have thought maybe one would have been caught.) The effect of the commission will invariably be to call for new legislation making it harder to vote. Such a law in Kansas meant that 34,000 fewer people voted in that state in 2012 than in 2008, with those affected skewing younger and less white. Read: More Democratic.”
Enough said. So thanks, Secretary Kobach, for making our point. Now, why don’t you do the country a real service by resigning from this phony commission and hauling yourself back to Kansas?
Issues: Voting and Elections