Evidence suggests that the Commission’s conclusions are also already preordained. Kris Kobach, co-chair of the new Commission, met with President-Elect Donald Trump in November 2016, in an apparent interview to become Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. He carried with him a memo, photographed by the press, labeled “Kobach Strategic Plan for First 365 Days.” The last bullet on the page, number 23, read “Draft Amendments to National Voter …” — and the remainder was covered by Kobach’s sleeve. The full bullet almost certainly read “Draft Amendments to National Voter Registration Act,” the federal law that governs how Americans register to vote in federal elections. We’ll soon know for sure: Kobach has been ordered to turn the page over to plaintiffs in a pending lawsuit, by the end of this week.
What all of this likely means is that the person chosen as the new co-chair of the new Commission using federal resources to research and investigate potential election policies had, six months ago, already prepared a wish list of policies to implement. This Commission is just the process of purporting to justify what has already been decided.
Moreover, there is absolutely no mention in the executive order of any potential costs of the policies the Commission is supposed to consider: no mention that the Commission should investigate the extent to which its preferred security theater policies actually make it more difficult for real, live Americans to exercise the franchise. That’s a dangerously one-sided calculus for tinkering with a fundamental right.