Kobach defends voter commission: Criticisms 'ridiculous'

Kobach defends voter commission: Criticisms 'ridiculous'
Posted at 12:50 PM, Jul 19, 2017

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach defended President Donald Trump's commission on voter integrity, during a Wednesday morning appearance on CNN's "New Day."

Kobach, a Republican who serves as the vice chairman of the panel and has been labeled "King of Voter Suppression" by ACLU Voting Rights Project director Dale Ho, responded to criticism by calling it "ridiculous."

Specifically, he responded to a Tuesday letter from four Democratic lawmakers to Vice President Mike Pence requesting the Kansas politician's removal from the President's commission. Hours later, more than 70 lawmakers signed a letter to Kobach urging him to withdraw his request for voter registration data due to security and privacy concerns.

Addressing the claims that his efforts will lead to voter suppression, Kobach said, "To try to decipher that for you, I think they're saying if a commission studies the problem in Washington, somebody out in California is going to decide not to vote some November. That doesn't even make sense."

CNN's Chris Cuomo countered that "the general assertion is that you are looking for a problem in the name of suppression."

Cuomo also pointed out that concerns about the voter fraud panel stem not only from Trump's claims that millions of illegal votes were cast in the 2016 election, leading Hillary Clinton to win the popular vote, but Kobach's quote following the claim: "I think the President-elect is absolutely correct when he says the number of illegal votes cast exceeds the popular vote margin between him and Hillary Clinton."

"There is no basis for that, in fact," stated Cuomo.

Kobach defended that quote, saying that when he said it in January, he was making the point that "several million non-citizens actually voted" in the 2008 election. From there, he continued to iterate two main points, which are that the panel is a good thing because there has never been a nationwide commission on voter fraud and it will help put "facts on the table" for examination and interpretation.

Cuomo pointed out, "As we both know, the study you're pointing to, the guys who own the data came out and said this study is bogus for legal votes, that they should have not drawn these conclusions off (their) data."

Kobach then advocated for putting "numbers on the table," saying that while some past studies may be flawed, "This commission is going to be looking at real figures, real numbers, real voter rolls, and real cases, not just doing surveys. That's the big difference. There's never been a nationwide commission to actually look at real cases of voter fraud."

"I don't know that there is any debate about whether three million people voted illegally in the election; I think that's nothing but propaganda," Cuomo responded. "We don't have any factual basis for saying that there is a problem with illegal voting in this country. It has never been seen as a scale that would be relevant on any level, except when one person named President of the United States Donald Trump said it's why he lost."