“Election Commission Documents Cast Doubt on Trump’s Claims of Voter Fraud”

ProPublica: Today, thousands of commission documents were released that show aspects of the body’s inner workings. As critics have suggested, the records — a mix of memos, internal emails and reports — make clear the commission’s work was driven by a small number of members who were convinced voter fraud was widespread, and that other members were often excluded from critical decisions about the commission’s aims and tactics…. On Nov. 18,…

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Breaking: Federal District Court Sides with ACLU over SOS Kris Kobach in Proof of Citizenship Voting Case

Given how things went at trial (Kobach got held in contempt at one point—though had the fine paid off with a government credit card), this is no surprise. In addition to injunctive and declaratory relief, “the Court imposes sanctions responsive to Defendant’s repeated and flagrant violations of discovery and disclosure rules.” This is a complete victory for the ACLU in a careful, detailed opinion by a Republican-appointed…

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Redacted Kobach Deposition Transcript and von Spakovsky Cross Examination Transcript Now Available, Includes Discussion of False Claim of Somali American Voter Fraud

This trial is going to go down in the history books. It is the first time the Fraudulent Fraud Squad’s spurious claims of massive voter fraud literally have been put to trial and cross examination. It is not going well for them. (Redacted) transcript of Kobach deposition. von Spakovsky examination and cross-examination.  Some excerpts from Dale Ho cross examination: Q. You have not published any peer-reviewed research as an historian….

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“Claims Of Leading Voter Fraud Alarmist Picked Apart In Kansas Trial”

TPM: A prominent voter fraud alarmist who had prepared a report defending Kansas’ proof-of-citizenship law admitted in testimony Friday that he did not investigate the circumstances surrounding the registrations of a handful of non-citizens that were central to his allegations. The witness, Hans von Spakovsky, relied on a spreadsheet provided to him by the state. The spreadsheet showed that in Kansas’ second most populous county, there were…

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Dale Ho Examines Hans von Spakovsky Under Oath at Kansas Voter Suppression Trial

I really wish I could have been there Bryan Lowry: Ho also questioned von Spakovsky about his interpretation of the 14th Amendment, which differs from that of the U.S. Supreme Court and the U.S. State Department. Von Spakovsky confirmed that he disagrees with most legal scholars that a person automatically becomes a U.S. citizen if he or she is born on U.S. soil under the 14thAmendment, saying that his interpretation is that at least one parent…

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von Spakovsky, of the Now Defunct Pence-Kobach Fraudulent Fraud Squad, Suddenly Calls for a Greater Federal Role in Elections

Interesting turnabout: One of the most common arguments made by state officials in refusing to turn over voter registration lists is that the federal government has no business barging in and demanding states provide the information. Von Spakovsky says that argument rings hollow given what states constantly do with the same information. “The information we asked for is information that all of these states routinely sell to candidates and…

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BREAKING: President Trump Waves White Flag, Dissolves The Pence-Kobach Voter “Fraud” Commission, in Great News for Voting Rights

In a victory for those who care about fair administration of elections, both to enfranchise all eligible voters and to prevent fraud and other election chicanery, the President has announced the disbanding of his controversial voter fraud commission. The commission was headed by one of the country’s most prominent voter suppressors, Kris Kobach, the Secretary of State of Kansas who has made it his business to make it harder to register…

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EAC Commissioner McCormick, Speaking on ALEC Panel with Von Spakovsky and Adams, Makes Frivolous First Amendment Argument Against Automatic Voter Registration

Sam Levine: McCormick focused on automatic voter registration, a process adopted by 10 states so far in which eligible people are automatically added to the voter rolls when they interact with a motor vehicle agency or some other state agencies. Once people fill out the forms, they are given the choice of opting out. Oregon was the first state to adopt the process in 2015; eight states and the District of Columbia have followed since. But…

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von Spakovsky and Adams Say Only Plausible Reason People Question Pence-Kobach Fraud Commission is Because They Want Voter Fraud and Mistakes to Happen

Washington Examiner: A wide range of interest groups – from academics, to faux-media outlets, to partisans, to foundations and the activist groups they fund – appear intent on trying to sabotage the work of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The only plausible reason for this is that they don’t want the public to learn more about vulnerabilities in our elections that allow election fraud and other administrative errors…

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J. Christian Adams, Members of Pence-Kobach Fraudulent Fraud Squad, Suggests von Spakovsky Was Right to Suggest Keeping Democrats Off Commission

Hans von Spakovsky, in a released email a while back, suggested that Pence-Kobach should keep all Democrats off the sham voting commission. Now, in light of news that Maine SOS Matt Dunlap, one of the few Democratic members of the Commission, has sued the Commission, von Spakovsky’s frequent ally (and fellow commission member J. Christian Adams, just tweeted this: Jessica Huseman asks: “Are you referencing his email saying Democrats…

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Cleta Mitchell and von Spakovsky Advance Nutty Theory That Paying for Steele Dossier Violates Foreign Contribution Ban

This seems beyond a stretch: “There’s this strong public policy historically that prohibits paying a foreign national or receiving anything of value from a foreign national in a U.S. campaign,” Mitchell said. “If it involves an amount over $25,000 and it’s knowing and willful, it’s a felony.” Mitchell points to the words “expenditure” and “disbursement” in 11 CFR 110.20, and says…

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More aftermath of the Kobach Commission email log

ProPublica: On Friday, in response to a judge’s order, the Department of Justice released data showing the authors, recipients, timing, and subject lines of a group of emails sent to and from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. They show that in the weeks before the commission issued a controversial letter requesting sweeping voter data from the states, co-chair Kris Kobach and the commission’s staff sought the input of…

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“New Document Shows Inner Workings Of Trump’s Voter Fraud Probe”

HuffPost: The commission’s work so far has been unclear; even some commissioners have said they’re not exactly sure what the panel is working on. Friday’s disclosure is significant because it shows officials on the probe have contacted officials with the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Justice and the Social Security Administration ― which suggests the commission may be proceeding with a plan to compare the voter data it’s…

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“Former Justice Department Lawyers Fire Back on Voting-Rights Reversal They Say Betrays Two Decades of Enforcement”

Dan Froomkin: The Justice Department’s recent about-face on a voting rights case was such a betrayal of long-standing DOJ policy that a group of former political appointees and career lawyers filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court on Friday, citing more than two decades of consistent enforcement of the rule in question – until Trump. In a possibly unprecedented move, the former Justice lawyers essentially made an argument on behalf…

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“Trump Pick for Civil Rights Role Is a Lawyer Who’s Pushed Voting Restrictions”

Pema Levy for Mother Jones: In mid-August, as Washington reeled over the deadly white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville, Virginia, President Donald Trump quietly announced his pick for the top civil rights job at the Department of Homeland Security. The woman he chose doesn’t have a background in national security or in protecting civil rights. Instead, she’s a Republican election lawyer who has worked with conservative groups pushing for…

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“Trump’s voter fraud commission proves a magnet for controversy”

WaPo: As President Trump’s voter fraud commission prepared to convene in New Hampshire this week, it already faced questions about its seriousness of purpose and whether it was a hopelessly biased endeavor. Then things got worse. An email surfaced in which the Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky, one of the commission’s most conservative members, lamented that Trump was appointing Democrats and “mainstream” Republicans to the bipartisan…

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von Spakovsky Says He Did Not Send Email to Attorney General But to Others and It Was Forwarded

…Statement to Jessica Huseman. There doesn’t appear to be a question he wrote the letter against including Democrats, mainstream Republicans or academics on the Commission. The question is over who he sent it to. Looking at how things were forwarded, it is consistent with von Spakovsky sending the letter to someone who forwarded it to someone at DOJ….

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Bob Bauer Calls on von Spakovsky to Resign from Pence-Kobach Sham Commission, and Has Questions About DOJ/AG Role

MSMHL:  The email was sent in February of this year. In June, President Trump appointed one of these Heritage experts, Hans Von Spakovsky, to the Commission. It turns out that Von Spakovsky also wrote the email, a fact now confirmed by Heritage but originally deniedby Von Spakovsky in response to an inquiry from ProPublica. So the Administration chose to appoint to the Commission an individual who strongly objected to a bipartisan inquiry but…

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“The voting commission is a fraud itself. Shut it down.”

Jennifer Rubin in WaPo: Wait a minute. Yes, a partisan politician — did we mention he’s running for governor? — and lawyer who writes for an alt-right publication known for hyperbole, exaggeration and outright falsehoods is simultaneously leading a commission that has set out to find the impossible, namely nonexistent evidence of large-scale voting fraud. In an outrage-filled administration, this ranks near the top of the list. Kobach’s article…

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Updated: Someone at Heritage Sent Letter Urging Pence-Kobach to Keep Democrats, Mainstream Republicans, and Academics off Fraud Commission

Via a Campaign Legal Center FOIA: Note the reference to “the white paper we sent you” and “the three of us have written more on the voter fraud issue than anyone in the country on our side of the aisle.”  How could this not include von Spakovsky and Adams? Pretty sure the “white paper” referred to is: J. Christian Adams, Donald Palmer & Hans von Spakovsky, Best Practices for Achieving Integrity in Voter…

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“Trump Voter Fraud Commission Poised To Double Down On Debunked NH Claims”

TPM Muckraker: Gardner has since said that he doesn’t agree with Kobach’s claims, but argued that doesn’t mean he needs to step down from the panel, as he pushed back at the Democrats’ request. “No, I’m not going to step down, and it’s hypocritical to ask me to step down as a member of a federal commission,” Gardner told WMUR. “Have they ever stepped down from a Senate committee or a committee that they serve on because they disagreed with…

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Today’s Must-Read: “Analysis: Heritage Foundation’s Database Undermines Claims of Recent Voter Fraud”

The Brennan Center comes through with tedious but very important debunking work: The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity relies on a database produced by the Heritage Foundation to justify baseless claims — by President Trump and some of the panel’s members — of rampant voter fraud. But according to an analysis of the database by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, the numbers in the database reveal exactly…

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“What does the US election integrity commission need to be credible? Some actual experts”

Michael Halpern and Michael Latner in The Guardian: But by far the most glaring omission in membership concerns people who can most effectively evaluate data on elections and voter fraud: election scientists. The last commission, headed by Obama White House Counsel Bob Bauer and Mitt Romney’s election lawyer Ben Ginsberg, brought on Stanford political scientist Nathaniel Persily to direct research. Persily is an expert with a reputation for…

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Mississippi Law Journal Symposium on the Voting Rights Act

85 MISSISSIPPI LAW JOURNAL, NO. 6, PP. 1039-1478, 2017. Voting Rights Act Symposium. 85 Miss. L.J. 1039-1393 (2017). [H]|[L]|[W] George C. Cochran. Foreword. 85 Miss. L.J. 1039-1046 (2017). [H]|[L]|[W] George C. Cochran. In memoriam: Frank Ruff Parker. 85 Miss. L.J. 1047-1052 (2017). [H]|[L]|[W] Delbert Hosemann. Not our grandfather’s Mississippi anymore: implementing Mississippi’s voter identification requirement. 85 Miss. L.J. 1053-1091…

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“Meet the Vote Suppressors and Conspiracy Theorists on Trump’s ‘Election Integrity’ Commission”

…Ari Berman: The likes of Kobach, Blackwell, von Spakovsky, and Adams have for years spread debunked lies about voter fraud and have championed efforts to make it harder to vote, often in violation of federal law. Putting them on an “election integrity” commission is as bad of an idea as Trump forming a “cybersecurity unit” with Vladimir Putin….

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Beyond Words: J. Christian Adams Appointed to Pence-Kobach Commission

If you look at this list of people on the Pence-Kobach commission: Kobach Blackwell von Spakovsky and now Christian Adams… it is hard to imagine a list of people less credible on the issue of the extent of voter fraud in the United States, and who have done more to raise the scourge of voter fraud as a means to advocate for laws to make it harder for people to register and to vote. This is not a list meant to inspire bipartisan…

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Kobach Relies on “Bipartisan” Nature of Election Commission for Legitimacy, But It is Hardly Bipartisan

Speaking to Anderson Cooper at CNN, Kobach defended the Faux Commission by stating: “First of all, the commission is not to prove or disprove what the President speculated about in January,” Kobach said. “The purpose of the commission is to find facts and put them on the table. Importantly, it’s a bipartisan commission.” (My emphasis.) Kobach and his allies are desperate to claim that the Commission is bipartisan…

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President Trump Appoints Country’s Worst Vote Suppressor to His “Election Integrity” Commission

[Bumped to top] I thought it could not get worse with the Pence-Kobach faux election integrity commission with the appointment of Kris Kobach, the Secretary of State of Kansas who has trumped up claims of voter fraud to advance his career and to make it harder for people to register and vote, and former Ohio SOS Ken Blackwell, who once rejected voter registration forms based upon the weight of the sheet of paper. But I was wrong. The President…

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von Spakovsky, Christian Adams to Be Offering Advice, Reports to President’s “Election Integrity” Commission

…Release: The Best Practices report follows President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order on the Establishment of Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. PILF intends to contribute to the body’s future studies by offering these findings and suggestions in the near future. Donald Palmer is also involved. UPDATE: https://twitter.com/srl/status/877589682485305344  …

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“In Emails, Neil Gorsuch Praised a Leading Republican Activist Behind Voter Suppression Efforts”

Ari Berman: Few people in the Republican Party have done more to limit voting rights than Hans von Spakovsky. He’s been instrumental in spreading the myth of widespread voter fraud and backing new restrictions to make it harder to vote. But it appears that von Spakovsky had an admirer in Neil Gorsuch, Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court, according to emails released to the Senate Judiciary Committee covering Gorsuch’s time working in…

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VP Pence “Voter Fraud” Commission Has Not Even Contacted Usual Suspects Yet About Joining

Pam Fessler for NPR: Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation says he’s neither been asked to participate in the investigation or been consulted about it. “Which seems a bit odd given that I’m one of the leading experts on voter fraud,” he wrote in an e-mail. Von Spakovsky is a former Justice Department official, who’s been talking and writing about the issue for well over a decade and maintains a database of…

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Rather Than Continued Stalemate, Federal Election Commission May Now Lead Way to Campaign Finance Deregulation

As we have long been expecting, Federal Election Commissioner Ann Ravel has announced her resignation from the Federal Election Commission, effective March 1. For the last decade or more, beginning with the FEC tenure of Don McGahn (now the White House Counsel for President Trump), the FEC has stalemated on the most important questions about regulation of money in federal elections. Republican commissioners have pursued a deregulatory agenda,…

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“Civil Rights Déjà Vu, Only Worse”

Sam Bagenstos for TAP: Voting Rights. After the Supreme Court’s 2013 Shelby County decision cutting the heart from the Voting Rights Act, states formerly covered by the statute’s preclearance requirement initiated a wave of new vote-suppression measures. Other states also adopted voting restrictions in advance of the 2016 election. The Civil Rights Division responded with an aggressive program of lawsuits that limited the worst abuses, even if…

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“Campaign Finance Laws Poised for Rollback Under Trump”

Must-read Roll Call: Von Spakovsky, who manages the Election Law Reform Initiative at the conservative Heritage Foundation, says he’s hopeful that McConnell and Trump, along with a Republican House, will greatly increase the limits on donations to party committees and candidates, or undo the limits altogether. Individual donors can give no more than $2,700 directly to candidates per election in the 2016 cycle. He believes that Trump’s aides and…

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A Silver Lining from Trump Vote Rigging Claim: Republicans Repudiating Voter Fraud Myth

Here’s Jennifer Rubin in today’s WaPo: Claims of massive fraud and efforts to discredit the election system are preposterous on their face, but injurious to our democratic system. Long before Trump arrived on the scene Republicans helped manufacture an environment in which the talk show/Breitbart/Sean Hannity set actually thinks massive fraud is possible. Republicans insistent on ensuring the integrity of the election system with…

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“Voter ID laws are reaction to nonexistent problem”

Greg Smith in The Tennessean: Von Spakovsky and others are persuading the public, as well as state legislatures and courts, that illegal immigrants, unscrupulous voter registration activists and vote buyers are stealing elections. Claims of voter malfeasance have “justified” tighter voting restrictions. Yet, these claims have been found repeatedly and empirically to be “myths” (and I can cite 28 scholarly or empirical sources). The evidence is…

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Breaking and Analysis: Federal District Court Upholds Restrictive NC Voting Law in 485-Page Opinion

Federal district court judge Thomas Schroeder has issued this 485-page opinion considering constitutional and Voting Rights Act challenges to North Carolina’s 2013 restrictive voting law (which I have discussed in a number of places including this Harvard Law Review forum piece, Race or Party?: How Courts Should Think About Republican Efforts to Make it Harder to Vote in North Carolina and Elsewhere). This is a careful, erudite, yet…

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Another View on Dysfunction at the FEC

Another reader writes: Your correspondent put a strange slant on your old Slate article about Hans Von Spakovsky & the FEC. Nowhere in your article did you suggest that Hans would have acted/voted any differently than Don McGahn. You simply made the point that Hans’s notoriety might have resulted in more media/public attention to the FEC. I also think your correspondent really muddies the waters by claiming the opposition to Hans was…

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Is Dems’ Objection to Von Spakovsky the Real Source of FEC Dysfunction?

In response to my earlier post, a reader offers a different and very interesting perspective: You say on your blog that the “origins” of the current “dysfunction” trace to Don McGahn.  “Don McGahn” may serve as a convenient origin for those who disagree with the Republican Commissioners’ votes, but that view forgets the highly politicized events that led to (and caused) McGahn’s appointment.  A few years ago, you acknowledged that the left’s…

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“McDaniel supporter in Jones County files suit over election law #MSSen”

I suggested this might be coming, but I think the joint Attorney General/SOS statement yesterday imposing clarity before the election would make such a lawsuit a very tough road. (Further, I expect McDaniel to beat Cochran, so I don’t think this lawsuit will go anywhere.) Meanwhile, here’s some coverage of what’s happening at the polls today on the issue of potential vote challenges: NYT: Poll Workers Must Stay Outside,…

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