Jill Stein, 2016 Green Party Presidential candidate, responded to President Trump’s announcement of an election integrity commission to investigate the President’s unsubstantiated claims about widespread voter fraud.
After Trump and his team fought tooth and nail against election integrity efforts in 2016, his attempt to brand a voter suppression campaign as “election integrity” has zero credibility right from the start.
Trump has appointed as vice chair of the commission Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State who has spearheaded the most extreme voter suppression campaigns since the Jim Crow era, including the Interstate Crosscheck program that disenfranchised up to 1.1 million voters in the 2016 election.
Kobach, whose ties to white nationalist groups are well-documented, has distinguished himself as the GOP’s grand wizard of voter suppression.
Kobach has made a career of promoting xenophobic hysteria over the practically nonexistent issue of voter fraud, denying millions of Americans their right to vote along the way.
Kobach has vocally supported Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud, stating that “3.2 million aliens voted in the presidential election”. Yet all nonpartisan investigations have found that voter fraud is so extremely rare as to be inconsequential. A Brennan Center survey of election officials found they suspected 0.0001% of ballots cast in the 2016 election might have been cast by non-citizens; or roughly one in a million voters.
The true agenda behind the GOP’s voter fraud witch hunts is obvious: denying the vote to as many people of color as possible.
After the 2016 election, numerous nonpartisan election integrity experts raised red flags about irregularities with the vote, leading to widespread support for a recount in states with possible election integrity issues. Trump and GOP operatives opposed these election integrity efforts every step of the way. Their sudden enthusiasm for election integrity would be laughable, if they were not threatening the basic Constitutional rights of millions of Americans.
Finally, some in the media have suggested that our recount effort identified voter fraud as a problem, a claim that is 100% false. In fact, our campaign was the only one to raise the alarm about how partisan election officials were using the non-issue of voter fraud to perpetrate voter suppression schemes like Interstate Crosscheck.
We raised concerns not about voter fraud, but about election fraud, in which the people who run elections tamper with the results. As many independent experts and journalists have noted, election fraud is a real concern with potentially disastrous consequences for our democracy, while “voter fraud” is nothing more than a fig leaf for voter suppression. To confuse election fraud with voter fraud is at best wrong, and at worst a disingenuous attempt to link our real efforts for election integrity with Trump’s attacks on our democracy.