Trump's 'Election Integrity' Commission on Mission to Purge Millions of Non-GOP Voters

Posted Sept. 20, 2017

MP3 Interview with Greg Palast, investigative journalist and author, conducted by Scott Harris

voting

Not long after Donald Trump won the presidential election with the required Electoral College majority, he falsely claimed that he had lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by some 3 million votes because millions of illegal votes were cast for the Democratic candidate. While Trump’s accusation is baseless and has been repudiated by both Republican and Democratic state officials, the lie was a central rationale to justify an executive order establishing the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The commission, chaired by Vice President Mike Pence – and whose vice chairman is Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach – has been tasked with studying vulnerabilities in federal elections that can lead to fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting.

Critics of the commission point out that Kobach is well known as the architect of voter suppression laws adopted by states across the U.S. as well as Arizona’s infamous anti-immigrant “papers please” law SB 1070. In late June, Kobach requested voter information from all 50 state governments. However, the request for voters’ names, addresses, birthdates, party affiliation and the last four digits of Social Security numbers, was refused outright by 19 states, with others unwilling to comply with key parts of the request.

At a commission hearing held in Manchester, New Hampshire on Sept. 12, Kobach was challenged for a column he had recently written for Breitbart News asserting that there was proof of enough voter fraud in New Hampshire last November to possibly have influenced the outcome of a Senate race. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with investigative reporter Greg Palast whose film documentary, “The Best Democracy Money Can Buy,” examines Kobach’s role in employing his Crosscheck system that wrongly purged some 1.1 million Americans of color from the voter rolls in the 2016 election. Here, Palast examines what he believes to be the true mission of Donald Trump’s election integrity commission.

GREG PALAST: The mainstream press has decided that the Kobach election integrity commission, Trump's special commission – it's all about Trump's ego because he wants to prove that he really won the popular vote. That is complete – can't say it on the air – it's not true. It is not about Trump's ego. It is about swiping the 2018 and 2020 elections. When Trump says three million people voted illegally, he's specifically citing – you have to go the rest of his statement – Trump said, people are voting many, many times. This goes back to the chard by his guy Kobach. It's not just a whacky claim – "oh it's crazy, it's insane" – no, no, no. It's worse than that. They actually have a list of three million people they claim have voted twice.

And I'm the only journalist in the United States who actually bothered to get the list – 3.6 million pairs of names they say are double voters. It's actually seven million people – Americans – who happened to ... I'll give you an example. Here's a good one: 583 guys named James Brown supposedly voted twice – once, in Georgia and again in another state. And the only evidence that put him on this list is that the first name matches and the last name matches. So James Brown. And that meant that – and this is a real example, James Thomas Brown is supposed the same guy as James Everett Brown. And James Brown, Sr. is supposed to be the same guy as James Brown, Jr. These are actual examples of this list. The middle names don't match. They don't care. Now, why would they do this? This is not about Trump's ego. In the last election, they actually removed 1.1 million people from the voter rolls. Names like Koch and Kobach, and frankly, Handpill and Palast don't get on this list.

It's names like Jose Garcia. It's names like James Brown. It's names like David Lee. Hispanic, black, Asian American names, in other words, blue voters. Democratic voters, and that's because minority voters and that is because 85 of 100 names are the most common names in America are minority names. This is Jim Crow, but instead of white sheets to scare away voters of color, they're using spreadsheets.

BETWEEN THE LINES: And Greg, I wanted to ask, as you examine this so-called Election Integrity Commission, what is your understanding of its objective. Is it simply to provide a rationale for more voter suppression measures in Republican-controlled states or is there a wider and maybe more dangerous objective that's part of this commission?

GREG PALAST: Kris Kobach said on Fox TV that he was going to try to take this system of naming double-voters, which he calls Crosscheck, from 28 Republican states to all 50 states by putting it into national law. That you're going to have to purge your voter rolls of double-voters and he's going to give you the list – which is why he asked all 50 states, by the way, to provide him the voter list. And for your information, most of those states that said that they would never turn over to Kris Kobach and this commission their voter rolls, did turn over the voter rolls.

So, what's happening here is that they want to take this system and make it nationwide. They also have a second thing that they want to do, and he made it very clear, Kobach, he's not hiding it. He wants to prove that there are a million illegal aliens who voted in the last election as well. Basically, Mexicans across the border to vote for Hillary, you know.

So this canard of the alien voters and what he wants to do, he's taking the Homeland Security list deportees and once again you're going to get names like Jose Hernandez. And they're going to say, "Omigosh, there's a Jose Hernandez who was deported, but there's a Jose Hernandez on the voter rolls of Arizona." And so they have to be removed. The illegal aliens. If they're really removing illegal aliens, why, we wouldn't object.

But they're not. What they're doing is taking common Latino names and so you find them on the deportation list, and they're knocking off American voters with similar names.

For more information, visit Greg Palast's website at gregpalast.com.

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