Top Democrats are crying foul today, as new voter suppression documents just came to light thanks to a federal court that ordered their release, after the ACLU sued to make them public.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who heads Trump’s “Election Integrity Commission” pretends to root out voter fraud, but in fact has been masterminding a nationwide voter suppression scheme with the express intent of denying voters of color access to the polls, thus increasing Republicans’ chances of winning elections.
The 2016 proposal proves that, despite Kobach’s and Vice President Pence’s claims to the contrary, the commission was founded to suppress likely Democratic votes based on Kobach’s gross exaggerations of voter fraud and his support of the president’s lie that 3-5 million “illegal aliens” voted for Hillary Clinton in the presidential election.
In fact, Kobach was only able to dredge up two non-citizens out of 1.8 million registered voters in Kansas to prosecute for voter fraud. Hardly a mass epidemic.
The released documents — the existence of which Kobach was fined for denying, and which he fought long and hard to keep suppressed — reveal a section titled, “Stop Aliens From Voting,” intended “to promote proof-of-citizenship requirements.”
It is a voter suppression tactic that successfully intimidates likely Democratic voters.
In 1964, the 24th Amendment abolished the “poll taxes” that had prevented poor people and people of color from voting. Yet, Kobach has succeeded in insidiously rebranding such poll taxes for the modern era.
According to today’s Mother Jones:
Kobach’s proposal is modeled after a law in Kansas requiring citizenship documents to register to vote, such as a birth certificate, a passport, or naturalization papers. Since the law went into effect in 2013, one in seven Kansans trying to register has been prevented from doing so. Nearly half of those 30,000 people have been under the age of 30. A federal appeals court blocked a key part of the law last year, ruling that “there was an almost certain risk that thousands of otherwise qualified Kansans would be unable to vote in November.” Kobach has appealed that ruling.
Esteemed Democratic representative, Elijah Cummings of Maryland, offered the Huffington Post a piece of his mind today:
‘These newly released documents ― which Kris Kobach fought tooth and nail to conceal from the American people ― completely contradict the claims of the President and the Vice President that the voting commission did not have a preconceived agenda . . . Mr. Kobach has always wanted to impose abusive new voter suppression laws, and he and the White House are using this commission to manufacture a false political narrative to support their dangerous campaign.’
Senator Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island added his voice to today’s chorus of Democratic disdain:
‘Equally troubling is the mounting evidence of the Justice Department’s complicity in that mission . . . The American people deserve answers on this creepy commission, both from the White House and the Justice Department.’
If Republicans get their way, anyone who doesn’t “look American” can be harassed at the polls for not carrying documentation that most American citizens rarely have on their person. Think Sheriff Joe Arpaio, but at the polls, where we all exercise our sacred right to vote.
Trump is trying to rebuild the judiciary branch of our government in his image.
The ACLU’s victory today shows that, as of now, enough fair-minded judges remain in place to offer some checks and balances on the most dictatorial impulses of the president and his conservative henchmen.
It is a victory for transparency, but one we must not take for granted. If anything, it’s a signal that we must redouble our efforts to maintain our democracy and #Resist Trump’s racist brand of authoritarianism.