President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order today establishing a commission to review alleged voter fraud and voter suppression in the American election system, multiple senior administration officials tell ABC News.
The officials say Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach will be announced as Chair and Vice Chair of the ‘Presidential Commission on Election Integrity’ in a press release today. It’s not clear whether the White House will allow coverage of the order signing.
The commission, which will include Republicans and Democrats, will be tasked with studying “vulnerabilities” in U.S. voting systems and potential effects on “improper voting, fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting,” according to one official with knowledge of the announcement….
Membership of the commission is still taking shape even as Trump is poised to sign the order creating it. Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson (R), New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner (D), Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap (D), Christie McCormick, commissioner of the election assistance commission, and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (R), are among the names under consideration, the administration officials said.
Not sure what Democrat or election professional would be on a commission with Kobach or with Ken Blackwell—this is not a commission designed to ferret out the truth given their track record. But I am extremely disappointed to see EAC Commissioner Christie McCormick on this commission, lending the EAC’s credibility to a farcical effort.
Back on January 25, when the idea for this “commission” was first floated, I laid down some markers at Slate for what a fair commission would look like, and the need for a shadow commission if Trump did not follow fundamental rules of fairness:
First, members of the commission should be bipartisan and well-respected on all sides. This was the model of the Carter-Ford commission that investigated problems with the 2000 election, the Carter-Baker Commission that investigated problems with the 2004 election, and the Presidential Commission on Election Administration that was led by leading Democratic lawyer Bob Bauer and leading Republican lawyer Ben Ginsberg and that investigated problems with long lines and election administration after the 2012 election.* Legal commentator Andrew Cohen has suggested a commission headed by retired Supreme Court Justices Sandra Day O’Connor, David Souter, and John Paul Stevens, with a staff led by former U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald. (All are Republicans, though Souter and Stevens leaned pretty liberal when they were on the court.)
Second, the commission should have professional staff with experience dealing with election administration aimed at searching for the truth through an examination of credible evidence. The Bauer-Ginsberg commission’s research director was Nate Persily, a Stanford law and political science professor who is known for his careful and even-handed research. Back in 2000 there were few political scientists and law professors studying the details of election administration. Now there are many and a large set of peer-reviewed studies on these issues, including questions of voter fraud. There are plenty of ways to try to examine these issues, and the precise claim of President Trump that 3 million to 5 million votes could have been cast illegally in a massive conspiracy without detection should be probed in a fair and scientific way…..
There’s a lot more in there. I expect few of any of these markers will be met.
The only good news since I wrote this piece? The Administration’s credibility is so low that few except the true believers are likely to believe anything produced by the likely worthless report.