Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who serves as vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, talked with Breitbart News Daily on Friday about efforts by groups like the ACLU and NAACP to prevent his commission from doing its work.
Kobach described the Commission on Election Integrity as “the first-ever nationwide bipartisan body investigating voter fraud in America.”
“You’ve got secretaries of state like me who have extensively investigated voter fraud in my state of Kansas and found a significant amount of it, but never have you had a commission of this nature,” he told SiriusXM host Alex Marlow. “Its work is so important because surveys show only 40 percent of Americans think elections are fair in this country.”
“The first meeting was an important one,” he said. “We heard a significant amount of evidence already, including the fact that there are at least 938 criminal convictions for election crimes since approximately the year 2000 across the country. There may be more. That’s an effort to catalog all of the convictions recorded in newspapers across the country.”
“We also charted the course for what other forms of voter fraud will be studied in the future, what the full menu is going to be for the commission in the coming year,” he added.
Kobach said that “inaccuracies in our voting rolls” will be among the issues the commission will study carefully.
“There are literally millions if you count the voting rolls of all 50 states, millions of individuals on those voting rolls who are either deceased individuals who have not been removed. According to the Pew Foundation, they estimate it’s 1.8 million, and they say that’s a low estimate. That’s just an estimate based on their sampling,” he said.
“We’ll also be looking at the number of non-citizens on the voter rolls,” he continued. “There we don’t have as many estimates out there by people who are using survey methodology, but I’m guessing the number is probably going to be very big, certainly I would think in the hundreds of thousands, but we’ll find out what that number is.”
“We’re also going to be looking at election day voter fraud, whether it be by people voting the identities of other people – either a dead person or a person who’s not voting – or people voting in two jurisdictions at the same time. We’ve seen a lot of that in Kansas. We’ll be looking at the claims by opponents of photo ID that it somehow depresses turnouts at elections if you have security measures in place. So a lot of really important things that have been at the center of public debate in this country for several years now, we’ll be putting some facts on the table,” he promised.
Kobach estimated that roughly a dozen states, including his own Kansas, have “strict voter ID laws” in place.
“When I say strict, I mean no exceptions. You can’t get around it by signing a piece of paper saying, ‘Yes, I really am who I say I am,’” he clarified. “If you add in the states that have exceptions like that, we have about 20 states, just shy of 20.”
“But the majority of states still don’t have photo ID laws. It’s a state-by-state issue. The Constitution of the United States gives to the states the time, place, and manner of elections,” he observed. “In particular, it seems those that are controlled by the Democrats don’t want to adopt photo ID laws.”
“However, I want to note an important point here: in 2011, when most of the states that have photo ID laws adopted them, or a large number adopted them in 2011, Rhode Island – a state controlled by Democrats in the state legislature – adopted photo ID,” he added.
“Some of the leadership of the legislature were interviewed and they said, one member in particular I remember said, ‘Well, God gave me a brain, and I see what photo ID can accomplish. I see the voter fraud in our state, and it makes sense to have it.’ He was questioned because he was a Democrat voting for photo ID,” Kobach recalled.
“In Kansas, too, when we had our photo ID law put to the legislative vote, two-thirds of the Democrats in the state House and three-quarters of the Democrats in the state Senate voted for it,” he noted.
“But something changed in 2012. Former President Bill Clinton started speaking about photo ID as a bad thing. Some of the people on the national level in the Democrat Party decided that photo ID was going to be one their evils that they would campaign against. A lot of people got the memo, and so now, we have people in Kansas who voted for the law out there saying what a horrible thing the law is. It’s really interesting and hypocritical,” he said.
Kobach said there have been seven lawsuits filed against his commission, which he believes is more than any other commission in U.S. history has faced.
“President Obama had 28 presidential commissions. President Bush had 24. None of them were hit by seven lawsuits, and only a couple, a very small number of commissions, saw any litigation at all,” he pointed out.
“There seems to be a strategy by the plaintiffs to stop the commission in its tracks,” he said. “They tried to stop the first meeting. Their arguments were very flimsy, and the U.S. district courts rejected them. Now they’re trying to stop the commission from collecting voter information, voter rolls that are publicly available in the states.”
Kobach described those voter rolls as “square one” of a methodical investigation of voter fraud, to “see who’s registered where and who voted in which states.”
Despite these delaying tactics, he said voters will “see results in every meeting” of his commission.
“In Wednesday’s meeting, we saw the list of 938 criminal convictions for election crimes, mostly since the year 2000. In the next meeting, you’ll probably see – because these are publicly available meetings, so you’ll see evidence presented on whichever of the topics are selected. We haven’t yet set the agenda for the next meeting, which is likely to be in September,” he reported.
“Each time the commission meets, you’ll see more evidence presented on the topic of the meeting. And then, of course, at the end of the commission’s period – which we hope to be about a year, but if these lawsuits are successful in delaying things, it could stretch the commission’s lifetime out – at the end of it, you’ll see a report with all of the information presented, all of the facts presented, and people can draw their own conclusions about how big a problem these threats to voter integrity are,” Kobach said.
Marlow quoted from Kobach’s recent article at Breitbart News, in which he charged that the left is trying to hide certain information about voter fraud from both government officials and the public. He asked if Kobach had any ideas about what they wanted to keep hidden.
“I think there are a number of things,” Kobach replied. “I think more broadly you have organizations on the left that have benefited from the claim that voter fraud is a myth, and their existence is all about propagating this claim that there is no such thing as voter fraud.”
“I think you may have some states, there are a couple of states – California being one that jumps to mind – that have said, ‘We aren’t going to provide this data,’” he continued. “In that case, the leadership of the state may be saying, ‘Look, we don’t want the extent to which our voter rolls are inaccurate or filled with people who are ineligible to vote, such as aliens. We don’t want that being made public.’”
“So I think you have a variety of interests on the left that are saying, ‘No, don’t talk about voter fraud. Change the subject. Save the myth.’ None of those excuses are good ones, though,” he said.
Marlow saluted Kobach for his stalwart defense of the commission’s work on hostile news shows.
“Usually, if I go on a CNN or an MSNBC program, immediately the first question is, ‘Well, isn’t this commission just all about trying to prove that Donald Trump was correct or incorrect when he said he thought he won the popular vote, if you took out all the illegal votes?’” Kobach said. “My answer is no, that’s not the purpose of the commission. It’s not an executive order; that’s not what we’re doing. The commission’s purpose is just to put the facts on the table.”
“Usually, they start from that perspective, that the commission’s purpose is somehow illegitimate, and then they proceed to toss out at me the arguments of some of the people on the left about – this is the most ridiculous one, that by studying the issue, somehow the commission will suppress votes. I keep challenging them: what does that mean? If a commission based in Washington, DC, looks at some data and presents statistics, that somehow a person in California will decide not to vote next November? It’s nonsense,” he scoffed.
Kobach faulted the mainstream press for failing to ask the sort of pragmatic questions Marlow presented about the nature of the commission’s work. “They don’t seem to be particularly interested in the substance of what voter fraud there is out there. Rather, they just want to push back by using the talking points of the far left,” he said.
Kobach noted that several of the double voting cases he prosecuted in Kansas involved Republican voters, but the media never asks about such details, presumably because they want to keep the issue framed as a purely partisan assault on Democrats by Republicans.
He said double voting is a crime that “typically isn’t coordinated with lots of people,” but is more likely to involve “somebody that’s tempted because they realize their registration is still good in their old state, and, of course they’re registered in a new state, and so they get tempted to vote twice, and they do it.”
“Those individual actors are sometimes Republicans,” he stressed. “And I’d be happy to concede that. I don’t make the claim that voter fraud is only perpetrated by the left. But they don’t even ask the question, Alex.”
“Remember, this commission is a bipartisan commission. You’ve got Republicans and Democrats looking at the problem of voter fraud. It’s filled with serious people who have spent, collectively, probably more than a hundred years of experience. One of the gentlemen on the commission is the secretary of state of New Hampshire, Bill Gardner, who is a Democrat. He’s been the secretary of state in that state for more than 40 years,” he pointed out.
“You’ve got a very serious commission who can take an honest, dispassionate look at the facts and present them. And yet, still, the left is outraged that we should even look. Their whole mantra seems to be, ‘Don’t even look at it. Voter fraud doesn’t exist. Turn your eyes away,’” Kobach lamented.
Marlow highlighted the irony of the left’s taking this see-no-evil approach to voter fraud while simultaneously blaming Russian meddling in the 2016 election for the defeat of Hillary Clinton.
“I do see a huge irony there,” Kobach agreed. “Look, at least what has been alleged regarding Russia, as election officials – and the FBI director said this, the former FBI director – there’s no evidence that Russia changed a single vote, in terms of the vote tallies.”
“I know for a fact that our vote tallying system is low-tech,” he explained. “The voting machines of America are not connected with one another by the Internet. It would have been virtually impossible even to imagine how Russia could change any votes. So all we have is evidence that they pushed out there some embarrassing emails from the Democratic national party, and that those were intended to somehow embarrass Hillary Clinton.”
“That’s very indirect efforts to affect the way people think in the months leading up to an election,” he argued. “That’s different than direct threats where someone goes in and votes who is not a U.S. citizen, and casts a ballot, and that changes the tally of an election. We’re talking about direct voter fraud here the commission is looking at, versus what some Democrats are just harping about daily, which is emails that might affect the way some voters think.”
“Personally, I’m not sure from my perspective why anybody would be swayed by an email that said Hillary Clinton received the questions in advance of a Democrat primary debate against Bernie Sanders, that that somehow would make people vote for Donald Trump,” he reflected.
“But regardless the degree of directness – one is changing the votes; the other is throwing” something out there into the ocean of information going into an election,” Kobach said.