Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Trump Voting Panel Asks for Public Comment and Gets an Earful

  • Comments sent to the panel almost entirely oppose its work
  • ‘Go pound sand,’ one correspondent tells Kobach’s commission

Beau McElhattan has a helpful tip for Donald Trump’s commission on voting fraud.

“Hi, I voted in all 50 states. Just wanted you to know. Love, Beau in Oklahoma,” he wrote the panel on June 29.

The president created his Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity in May, after claiming without evidence that 3 million people or more illegally voted for Hillary Clinton last year. On June 28, the panel’s vice chairman and day-to-day director, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, sent letters to states and the District of Columbia asking for publicly available voter files. Most states have at least partially refused to comply.

The commission also has a website, and there, it invites Americans to submit public comments on its work. It’s common for government agencies to request comment on projects, usually by posting regulatory notices in the Federal Register. The responses are typically dry and not newsworthy.

But Trump’s voting commission appears to have become a magnet for vitriol against the president and Kobach personally. The panel released 112 pages of emails it’s received late Thursday. The writers are angry, funny, profane and in almost all cases adamantly opposed to the commission, Kobach and the president himself.

The White House publicly released the emails without redacting the names of the writers, when they identified themselves.

Motive Questioned

Many of the correspondents allege that Kobach’s true aim is to suppress legal voting and exploit voters’ personal information. The commission will hold its first meeting on July 19.

“It is obvious that your commission will be using this information, especially voting history, to target people who are likely to vote Democratic, and use various, well-known techniques to suppress as many of their votes as possible,” wrote Jerold B. Coburn.

Dr. John R. Clevenger preceded his declaration that the effort is a “screaming outrage” with a profanity. “YOU MEAN TO DISENFRANCHISE VOTERS.” He ended his note with another profanity.

Some think Trump is acting on a personal vendetta.

“Just because P. Trump’s ego can’t stand losing the popular vote, it doesn’t mean the whole country should suffer," wrote Diane Kroeze.

“Mr. Trump’s claims that millions of fraudulent votes were cast against him is the ravings of an egomaniac who can’t stand to lose,” said Father Antony Hughes, who didn’t otherwise identify himself. “I hope and pray that you fail,” he added.

Security Concerns

There are plenty of concerns about the voter information Kobach is seeking.

“Your website isn’t secure. What’s the real motive for your request,” asked Diana Munson. Dave Huff noted that the data requested by the panel is just what banks ask for, exposing “the entire population to a massive amount of fraud if this data is in any way released."

Larry Finch told the commission to "go pound sand" and said that was all the information he’d provide.

There is one supportive message. "Dear Vice President Pence, This is a necessary investigation since a lot of ineligible people voted in the last Presidential election. If there is anything I can do, please let me know,” wrote Paddy Kalish.

At least two people wrote to ask the government to automatically register Americans to vote when they turn 18, without expressing an opinion on the commission’s work.

And Paul D. Kendall offered the commission what he presented as a lead: pay attention to Alaska, he said. “There are a lot of problems here," he wrote, suggesting the corruption is rooted in Juneau, the state’s capital.

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