Donald Trump and Mike Johnson Set for Announcement Today Supporting Some Bill To Prevent Non-Citizens From Voting, a Non-Problem in the U.S. Will It Be Pence-Kobach II, Allowing States to Require Documentary Proof of Citizenship Before Registering to Vote?

USA Today reported yesterday that Speaker of the House Mike Johnson is making a pilgrimage to Mar-a-Lago to join former President Trump to promoted a bill “aimed at preventing non-citizens from voting.” Details of the proposal so far are elusive.

This is of course just fodder to feed the false claims of massive voter fraud that have infected Donald Trump’s statements about elections every time he has lost and sometimes even when he has won. As Aaron Blake reported back in 2017, when Trump won the election but lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton in 2016 by about 3 million votes:

A lingering question when it comes to Donald Trump’s baseless claims of massive voter fraud has been whether it could call into question his 2016 win. After all, if it’s possible that 3 to 5 million illegal votes were cast, as Trump alleges, isn’t it possible that such massive fraud could have also helped him? He won by about 80,00 votes in the three states that mattered.

No, says Trump. In fact, zero illegal votes were cast for him, he told ABC News’s David Muir in an interview airing Wednesday night.

“Of those votes cast, none of ’em come to me. None of ’em come to me. They would all be for the other side. None of ’em come to me,” Trump said.

He added later: “Those were Hillary votes. And if you look at it they all voted for Hillary. They all voted for Hillary. They didn’t vote for me. I don’t believe I got one. Okay, these are people that voted for Hillary Clinton.”

In the 2016, there were not 3 million, or 300,000, or 30,000, or 3,000, or 300 cases of noncitizen voting found after extensive voting. The number was maybe around 30 potential cases nationally according to the Brennan Center.

That didn’t stop Trump from creating the Pence-Kobach commission to “investigate” claims of noncitizen voting and to propose recommendations. As I detail in my book, Election Meltdown, the purpose appeared to be to provide enough smoke to pass a federal law allowing states to require documentary proof of citizenship before they can vote.

When Kobach tried to defend such a law in Kansas in federal court, he lost badly (he was even sanctioned). He claimed the amount of voter fraud in Kansas was just the tip of the iceberg, but the Republican appointed judge hearing the case found no such evidence. As I wrote in Election Meltdown:

In an opinion issued a few months after the trial, Chief Judge Robinson found that Kansas’s documentary proof of citizenship law imposed a serious burden on the state’s voters. She credited the testimony of plaintiffs’ expert Michael McDonald that the burden fell most heavily on the young and those unaffiliated with a political party, and she noted that tens of thousands of Kansans had had their voter registration applications put on hold or rejected.20

She further concluded that the burden on these would-be voters was unjustified. There was likely a minuscule amount of noncitizen voting in Kansas, but the few reports of potential noncitizen voting were more likely the result of administrative error or misunderstanding of the law than attempted felonies. “Evidence that the voter rolls include ineligible citizens is weak. At most, 39 [non]citizens have found their way onto the Kansas voter rolls in the last 19 years. And, as [plaintiffs’ expert] Dr. [Eitan] Hersh explained, given the almost 2 million individuals on the Kansas voter rolls, some administrative anomalies are expected. In the case of Kansas, this includes 100 individuals in [the state database] with birth dates in the 1800s, and 400 individuals with birth dates after their date of registration.”

“There is no iceberg,” the judge concluded, “only an icicle, largely created by confusion and administrative error.”

I would not be surprised to see a revival of this proposal.

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