Resistance is not futile.
On Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced an end to the controversial Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity (PACEI), convened in the spring to feed into Trump’s fiction about three to five-million illegal voters casting fraudulent ballots last November.
Its demise is attributed to federal lawsuits, including from one of its own members, and resistance from states that refused to submit voters’ Social Security numbers, party affiliations, voting records, criminal histories, and military statuses the commission demanded.
Still defending the baseless claim of “substantial evidence of voter fraud,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump signed an executive order asking the Department of Homeland Security to resume reviewing voter fraud issues and “determine next courses of action.”
About the PACEI’s fate, Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) said in a statement:
“The commission never had anything to do with election integrity. It was instead a front to suppress the vote, perpetrate dangerous and baseless claims, and was ridiculed from one end of the country to the other. This shows that ill-founded proposals that just appeal to a narrow group of people won’t work, and we hope they’ll learn this lesson elsewhere.”
“President Trump created his sham voting commission to substantiate a lie he told about voter fraud in the 2016 election. When he couldn’t come up with any fake evidence, and under relentless pressure, he had no choice but to disband his un-American commission. Good riddance.”
Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice, had similarly scathing remarks:
“This commission started as a tragedy and ended as a farce. It was a colossal waste of taxpayer money from the very beginning.”
Vice President Mike Pence served as PACEI’s chair, but it was Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach who led it.
Kobach is well versed in voter suppression tactics since it was he who engineered scores of voter suppression laws and proposals that courts struck down, including a proof-of-citizenship requirement for voter registration in Kansas.
Arguably the most insidious high-tech voter suppression scheme Republican-led states are practicing today is Kobach’s “Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program.”
In 2013, Kobach boasted his Crosscheck system uncovered 697, 537 “potential duplicate voters” in fifteen states. Those “potential duplicate voters” are listed by first and last names only on the supposition they are running around from state to state on election day casting multiple ballots. Everyone with that first and last name is kicked off subsequent nationwide voter roles irrespective of other identifying information, such as Social Security numbers, addresses, or birth dates.
PACEI member, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, is suing the committee, alleging in November his participation is “essentially meaningless” since he has not been kept informed about its operations.
The panel met in Washington in July, and in New Hampshire in September. Other meetings planned across the country never occurred.
In the fall, a staff member was arrested for possessing child pornography; PACEI member, former Arkansas state legislator David Dunn (D), passed away; and three Democratic senators launched an investigation into PACEI, stating in a letter to the Government Accountability Office (GAO):
“Unfortunately, the PACEI has ignored numerous requests from Members of Congress seeking clarification on the PACEI’s activities. Open record requests and court documents from litigation have provided some insight into the creation and operations of the PACEI, which we believe are cause for serious concern. Additionally, investigative reports raise questions about the motives and actions of the Commission.”
Democrats are sweeping elections all over the country, and with Doug Jones (D-Ala.) officially sworn in to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ former Senate seat, the Republicans’ majority is now down to 51 to 49.
PACEI’s failure is yet another silver lining.
Image credit: commondreams.org