Kris Kobach and the struggles of column-writing
So Kobach's charges of fraud are themselves fraudulent, but he can't seem to admit outright that he was simply wrong. Instead, sounding like a novelist, he said at the commission meeting on Tuesday that he might not have found "the right word" to describe the situation. He asked plaintively "if it's possible to condense a complex legal issue into an 800-word column."
Such after-the-fact humility doesn't explain his willingness to shoot first and check the facts later, or why he was still questioning the 2016 result. Absent more data, he said, "we will never know the answer regarding the legitimacy of this particular election."
But we do know the answer. It was legitimate. We also know the answer to the question about the existence of in-person voter fraud: There is almost none of it. This is true despite Trump's groundless post-election claim that 3 million to 5 million illegal votes were cast in 2016. When he could not produce a shred of evidence, he named a commission that would concoct some.
We should, indeed, be discussing ways of making our elections much better. We could build on the 2014 report from a genuinely bipartisan commission led by two battle-hardened election lawyers, Republican Ben Ginsberg and Democrat Bob Bauer.
Kobach's commission, however, is just looking for ways to justify new barriers to voting by groups (those students, for example) not inclined to support Trump, and it doesn't care what the facts are.
We do not need an official government body whose job is to spin fictional horror stories.
E.J. Dionne's email address is email@example.com. Twitter: @EJDionne.
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