A voter casts their ballot at a polling place in Nashua, N.H., on Feb. 9, 2016.
Photo by Cassi Alexandra/For The Washington Post/Getty

Trump’s absurd voting commission starts to unravel

As regular readers know, the existence of Donald Trump’s “Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity” has long been a running joke. By all appearances, the Republican president, annoyed about losing the popular vote and comforted by strange conspiracy theories, created a panel to root out the voter fraud scourge that exists only in conservatives’ imaginations.

But the panel didn’t reach farcical status until it actually got to work. In September, for example, the panel’s co-chair, voter-suppression pioneer Kris Kobach, claimed to have uncovered “proof” of systemic fraud in New Hampshire – claims that were quickly discredited as transparent nonsense.

This week, matters took a turn for the worse. Slate’s Mark Joseph Stern explained that there’s fresh evidence the White House commission “is imploding.”

On Thursday, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, a Democratic member of the voter fraud commission, filed a bombshell lawsuit against the commission and its chairs, alleging that the group has been violating federal law. Dunlap alleges the committee is a cynical partisan effort to exaggerate the frequency of fraudulent voting, that it flouts legal regulations, and that its token Democratic participants have been systematically shunned. […]

[Dunlap] appears to be atoning for his mistake of joining the commission by fighting to expose the rottenness at its core…. The tone of Dunlap’s lawsuit is notable: He is not bitter, just exasperated. It appears that he joined the commission out of a genuine desire to investigate election practices and, if necessary, suggest improvements to the nation’s voting system. But it didn’t take long for him to learn, he says, that he’d been invited “to afford the Commission and its prospective findings a veneer of legitimacy.”

This comes on the heels of a separate report from last month in which the inner workings of Trump’s commission came to light, prompting Vanita Gupta, former head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, to say there are “serious concerns about the potential coordination between the Pence-Kobach commission and government agencies, including the Justice Department, the Social Security Administration and the Department of Homeland Security.”

Just let this fiasco end. There was never any reason for the commission to exist, and if the panel starts calling for new voter-suppression policies, no one will take them seriously.

Kobach recently said that there’s a “high possibility” the commission he helps lead will make no recommendations once it completes its work. I imagine very few people would be disappointed.

Donald Trump, Kris Kobach, Voting Rights and War On Voting

Trump's absurd voting commission starts to unravel