The vice-chair of President Donald Trump’s voter integrity commission has some Wisconsin elections observers shaking their heads. In an interview with MSNBC on Wednesday, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said “we may never know” who actually won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election.
“Because even if you could prove that a certain number of votes were cast by ineligible voters, for example, you wouldn’t know how they voted,” Kobach said.
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) July 19, 2017
His comments came on the same day that the controversial committee met in Washington. The panel is charged with ferreting out what the president and many Republicans insist is widespread fraud in the nation’s elections. Kobach is one of the most high profile proponents of such claims, and his comments were derided by elections observers in Wisconsin.
“What he’s trying to do is discredit an election,” said Andrea Kaminski with the League of Women Voters of Wisconsin. “That’s a major claim that he’s making, that he has no evidence for.”
Jay Heck is executive director of Common Cause in Wisconsin. “There’s absolutely no evidence whatsoever that there was any voter fraud, on any scale at all, beyond an occasional person in each state who may have voted as a felon, or didn’t know they couldn’t vote.”
Heck and Kaminski cited the recount of Presidential ballots in Wisconsin, which was initiated and paid for by the campaign of Green Party candidate Jill Stein. That did identify a few hundred votes that were missed or counted wrong on election night, and ended up adding a net 131 votes to Trump’s total margin of victory.
“That’s evidence that at least here in Wisconsin, there was no problem,” Kaminski said.
The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity was formed because of President Trump’s claim that he would have won the popular vote in 2016 if not for millions of illegal voters. “There’s something. There always is,” the president told commission members on Wednesday.
“Donald Trump won the presidency based on the Electoral College vote,” Heck said. “Why he and Kobach are so obsessed with this idea that he also won the popular vote is absurd.”
Kobach — who is also running for Governor of Kansas — has already requested personal voter information from all fifty states, and that’s seen as part of a larger effort to depress voter turnout. “I worry that this is going to be used as an excuse to push more restrictive voting laws,” Kaminski said. “That will result in many eligible voters not being allowed to cast a vote. You don’t take people’s citizens rights away from them based on a claim that has no basis in fact.”
Later on Wednesday, former Wisconsin-based radio talk show host Charlie Sykes was also on MSNBC. “This whole commission is designed to provide cover for one of President Trump’s most egregious falsehoods, which is this fiction that millions of (illegal) votes were cast,” Sykes said. “The comment today by Chris Kobach — who by the way is a clown — ought to be disqualifying.”