EDITORIAL: Is President’s New Voter Fraud Commission a Waste of Money?

Donald Trump
Donald Trump (Courtesy photo)

Six months after Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the race for president with an Electoral College tally of 304 to 227 votes, he continues to claim that he actually won the popular vote too. Of course, you first have to subtract the votes of the 3 to 5 million “non-citizens” who Trump alleges voted illegally, for Clinton of course, in the 2016 election.

It’s a hard notion to swallow since Clinton outpaced Trump by almost 2.9 million votes. But that’s his story and he’s sticking to it. You’d think with only five presidents, John Quincy Adams, Rutherford B. Hayes, Benjamin Harrison, George W. Bush, and now Trump, winning a presidential election while losing the popular vote, that #45 would be satisfied. After all, he’s still made history. But such is not the case. Perhaps those millions who voted illegally are the reason that the president recently created the voter fraud commission — to fix our problem-riddled electoral process and get those darned “illegals” off the voters’ roles so he can finally get a good night’s sleep.

Trump has charged the commission, led by Vice President Pence and one of the country’s leading voices against noncitizen voting, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, with reviewing policies and practices that help or hinder Americans’ confidence in the integrity of federal elections. Then what?

Probably very little since federal law, determined most recently in a 2016 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, and before that, in a 2013 Supreme Court ruling, clearly prohibits the establishment of tighter proof of citizenship requirements for federal elections.

Perhaps Trump hopes that the commission will recommend changes that he’s been unable to secure in court. At least that’s what voting rights groups including the ACLU and the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, say they fear is the president’s real motive. Meanwhile, voting rights experts say there isn’t a significant problem of non-citizen voting in the U.S. The problem, they contend, is the tens of thousands of citizens who have been disenfranchised because of their state’s additional requirements to which they must comply if they wish to vote.

We’d like to see Donald Trump move on to other agenda items that have much greater significance — including streamlining the electoral procedure to make it easier, not more difficult, for all eligible voters to have their say at the polls. Isn’t that a guaranteed right for all U.S. citizens? Guess we’d better check the Constitution just to be sure.

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