- - Monday, July 10, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

One verity that all Americans, even in Washington, can agree on is that the integrity of elections is essential to the prosperity and survival of the republic. The point has been hammered home by an endless stream of charges that Russia interfered with the 2016 presidential election that put Donald Trump in the White House and sent Hillary Clinton into the wilderness.

A federal commission has been dispatched to see whether there’s fire beneath the smoke and, if so, see what can be done about it. So everybody agrees that’s all to the good, too. Well, not quite.

Barack Obama called reports of election fraud “fake news.” Like climate change, it’s a subject that proper and properly raised ladies and gentlemen regard as something that nice people don’t question. Some people are talking about it, anyway. This newspaper found that, in spot checks of voter rolls in Virginia and Maryland, thousands of illegal immigrants were registered to vote. The research organization called Just Facts estimates that between 3.2 million and 5.6 million noncitizens were registered to vote in 2012, and 1.2 million to 3.6 million of them actually cast ballots.

President Trump created the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in May, following months of uproar over Russian election hacking, which is so far mostly fantasy, amplified by anecdotal evidence of lax voting oversight. Headed and supervised by Vice President Mike Pence, the commission asked all 50 states for voter registration information, much of it already a matter of public record. For all the howls that rent the air, you might think someone had stepped on the tail of the White House cat.

The howls mostly come from blue-state Democrats, who have been gnashing their teeth over the Russian interference narrative. Back in the real world, even as evidence of domestic voter fraud is expanding and actual evidence of Russian interference is as scarce as sightings of Elvis. In California, ground zero of Trump Derangement Syndrome, Secretary of State Alex Padilla insists primly that “I will not provide sensitive voter information to a commission that has already inaccurately passed judgment that millions of Californians voted illegally.”

Even some Republicans, timid as usual, decline requests for full names of registered voters, dates of birth, addresses, political affiliation, voter history and other information. Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann of Mississippi suggests the request constitutes an invasion of privacy, and the commissioners ought to hurry down to Biloxi and “jump into the Gulf of Mexico.”

In a rare case of bipartisanship, state election officials of both parties are covering their eyes and ears, hoping the investigators will go away. It’s true that elections are conducted by the states, and requests for information are to be submitted voluntarily, as they should be, but critics of the investigation seem to be angry only by what they regard as attacks on their own integrity. The president shouldn’t have suggested that voter fraud could have cost him 3 million votes and denied him a popular majority.

It’s ironic that voter rights advocates who lamented the U.S. Supreme Court’s striking down federal oversight of voting practices in certain Southern states with histories of racial discrimination are now obstructing the federal government’s attempt to protect the nation’s elections. With a question mark still hanging over last November’s vote count, state officials should make a good-faith effort to cooperate. Americans deserve clean elections. Isn’t that what everyone wants?

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide