Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Fraudulent Fraud Commission

On October 31, 2016, right wing talk radio show host Howie Carr asked his guest, NH gubernatorial candidate Chris Sununu why Democrats have repeatedly won gubernatorial elections. Sununu responded by saying that NH Democrats have repeatedly engaged in voter fraud.   

“We have same day voter registration, and to be honest, when Massachusetts elections are not very close, they’re busing them in all over the place,” Sununu said.

He also said the system was rigged. A week later, Sununu was elected governor of NH, and had to pedal backwards furiously. After all, if all those buses from MA came to NH and voted – it meant they voted for him, and he didn’t want anyone to question HIS win.  Days after the election, Brave Sir Robin announced that he no longer believed the system was rigged.

On right wing talk radio, Sununu was asked how come Democrats have repeatedly won gubernatorial elections. His response was to lie and blame voter fraud. Too bad he wasn’t honest enough to point out that one-term Governor Craig Benson’s corrupt shenanigans poisoned his party for several cycles. The NH GOP couldn’t manage to find strong candidates. In 2014, they tried to pass off a guy from out of state as a viable NH candidate. Then of course, there was the phone jamming scandal of 2002, which poisoned the brand – but given that is how his brother was elected to the US Senate, one wouldn’t expect him to mention that. Easier to blame mythical fraud.

Meanwhile, Trump announced in January that he was going to investigate voter fraud. Winning the election wasn’t enough for him. That anyone else got any votes had to have been a result of “widespread voter fraud. In February, Trump announced that the reason he lost NH was because of widespread voter fraud and thousands of people were bused in from Massachusetts. Did the bus hide behind a tree in Jackson? Where did they park that bus in Hart’s Location? 

Trump was (and still is) miffed that everyone in the US didn’t vote for him. He’s an insecure little tyrant, and he desperately needed the validation of a NH win. Trump’s acolyte, Governor Sununu was again forced to say that there was no widespread voter fraud because, again, he didn’t want his win to be questioned. Since then, Trump the sore winner, has continued to complain about the election on Twitter, as world leaders do.

In May, Trump issued an executive order establishing a commission on election integrity. Vice President Mike Pence is chairing the commission. He spouts the same false claims Trump has made about voter fraud. As Governor of Indiana, he supported a crackdown on a statewide effort to register African American voters. The commission’s vice chair is Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State. Despite all evidence to the contrary, Kobach continues to insist that voter fraud is widespread. A number of his voter ID provisions have been struck down in federal court. He’s been fined for misleading a federal judge in a voting rights case, and is currently the subject of a Hatch Act complaint that alleges he’s exploiting his position on the commission to promote his candidacy – he’s running for governor of Kansas.

This is how we know the commission on voter fraud is fraudulent. Frauds are in charge of it. Regrettably, NH’s own Secretary of State, Bill Gardner has allowed himself to be used by the fraudsters. He’s on the commission, too. Gardner has been serving as Secretary of State since 1976. He’s been making inconsistent noise about voter fraud for a few years and now claims he wants to clear up any doubts about election integrity. That the same people who are using him created the doubts about election integrity appears to have escaped his notice.  

The commission intends to create a national voter database, and has begun by requesting a lot of information from every state about voters, including: names, addresses, birthdates, party affiliation, electoral participation history, felon status, and the last 4 digits of their Social Security numbers. So far, 44 states have refused to comply with some, if not all, of the demand to produce this information. Bill Gardner is willing to provide it all. Only a court challenge is preventing it from happening.  After a lifetime of public service, this will be Gardner’s legacy.

In 2005, NH Republicans were outraged by the REAL ID Act, claiming that this would create a national identification database. In 2017, they are rolling over for Donald Trump, and insisting that those who are opposed to the creation of a national voter database “have something to hide.”

To show us all how well the fraudulent fraud commission will do with handling sensitive information, they’ve just released 112 pages of unreacted emails from people commenting on the commission. Their names and email addresses have all been made public.

 This was published as an op-ed in the July 21, 2017  edition of the Conway Daily Sun Newspaper 

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