An already suspect effort to root out fraudulent voting took a turn for the worse last week, when co-chairman and election fraud grand inquisitor Kris Kobach requested detailed records on the voters of all 50 states.

In a letter that went out Wednesday, Kobach requested “the full first and last names of all registrants, middle names or initials if available, addresses, dates of birth, political party (if recorded in your state), last four digits of Social Security number, if available, voter history (elections voted in) from 2006 onward, active/inactive status, canceled status, information regarding any felony convictions, information regarding voter registration in another state, information regarding military status, and overseas citizen information.”

On the surface, it seems like a routine request. He asked only for public information, and, in states like Maine, some of what he wanted it is public and some is not, like Social Security numbers and full birth dates. Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said he would abide by Maine law and release only the information that would be available to any person who asked for it.

But there are a couple of factors here that should raise concerns.

First, there’s the person requesting the records. Kobach, as Kansas secretary of state, is a zealot when it comes to the search for evidence of illegal immigrant voting, which he is convinced is going on even though he can’t seem to find much proof. There are 1.7 million registered voters in Kansas, and Kobach has identified six cases of improper voting. He has won a single conviction of a non-citizen who voted.

The lack of results, however, hasn’t stopped him. His dogged determination to keep looking has brought him to the attention of President Trump, and Kobach has been identified as the source for the president’s fact-free claim that millions of fraudulent votes were cast against him in the last election. Trump signed an executive order to create a commission and made Kobach vice chairman under Vice President Mike Pence.


The second cause for concern is what the commission has not chosen to study. There is mounting evidence that in 2016 agents of a foreign government hacked the communications of the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, and attempted to interfere with state voting systems. If you were in charge of an Election Integrity Commission, you’d think you’d want to look into that.

In fact, that’s what Maine’s Dunlap said when he was on a conference call with Kobach and other commission members last week. Dunlap is a member of the commission and rightly requested that it research the steps states should be taking to protect private information and vote-counting systems from future cyberattacks.

Instead, Kobach sent out his letter demanding voter records, telling Dunlap that he wanted to find people who were registered in more than one state.

Dunlap reminded him that as long as they don’t vote in two states in the same election, it’s not illegal.

Why Kobach is more interested in the dry well of voter fraud when there is a real threat to the integrity of elections makes the commissions work suspicious.

If Kobach doesn’t pursue that evidence trail, he exposes this commission to be what the critics have said from the start — a scheme to win elections through voter suppression and not a search for the truth.

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