In this Nov. 6, 2012 file photo, a voter holds their voting permit and ID card at the Washington Mill Elementary School near Mount Vernon, Va. Across the...
J. Scott Applewhite/AP

Michigan Republicans can’t make up their minds about voter fraud

When Donald Trump recently got caught lying about voter fraud, it led to speculation about why he’d push an obvious falsehood. The obvious reason was that the president-elect was embarrassed by how badly he lost the popular vote and needed some kind of excuse, no matter how ridiculous, to soothe his ego.

But the less-obvious reason fits into a larger pattern: usually when Republicans lie about voter fraud, it’s because they’re planning to impose new voting restrictions intended to tilt the political playing field in their direction.

And with that in mind, The Nation’s Ari Berman explained yesterday:
Less than a month after Donald Trump unexpectedly carried Michigan by 10,000 votes, Republicans in the state legislature are already pushing to make it harder to vote. The presidential recount hasn’t even finished yet and Michigan Republicans are trying to pass a strict voter-ID law through the lame-duck legislative session before the end of this year. […]

Already, Trump’s discredited lie that “millions” voted illegally in 2016 seems to be impacting Republican actions. “A multitude of candidates have raised the concerns about the integrity of elections,” said GOP Representative Lisa Lyons, who sponsored the bill. “We need to respond to those questions. We are going to make sure that we’re protecting you – all voters – and the integrity of the election.”
But those raising “concerns” and “questions” are mistaken: neither Lyons nor any of her Republican colleagues have offered any proof of any voter fraud in the state. Not to put too fine a point on this, but legislators aren’t supposed to pass legislation on the basis of ignorance, discredited urban legends, and demonstrable lies from the likes of Donald Trump.

Making matters much worse, when the Green Party’s presidential nominee, Jill Stein, sought a recount in Michigan, Republicans in the state immediately balked and demanded the courts block the process – there was no fraud in the state, GOP officials declared, so there’s no point in a recount.

Trump’s lawyers made this argument explicitly in its legal filings against the recount in Michigan.

So, what’s it going to be Michigan GOP? You can either believe there’s no voter fraud in the state (when trying to block a recount), or you can believe voter fraud is a scourge in the state (when trying to pass a voter-suppression bill), but you can’t believe both at the same time.

Every time new voter-ID bills come up, it seems pretty obvious that their far-right proponents, motivated entirely by raw partisanship, realize they’re trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. In Michigan, however, there’s no need to speculate: they’ve effectively admitted it.

Donald Trump, Michigan, Voter Fraud, Voter Id, Voting Rights and War On Voting

Michigan Republicans can't make up their minds about voter fraud