by ConservativeHQ.com Staff
Just over two months ago, on May the 11th, President Trump signed an executive order to create a commission to, in his words, help to “promote fair and honest federal elections” — the foundation of our democracy.
As Vice President Mike Pence said in his opening remarks to the first meeting of the Commission, “Election integrity matters to every American. President Calvin Coolidge reminded us, in his words, that the ‘whole system of American government rests on the ballot box.’ And President Reagan declared that the “right to vote is the crown jewel of American liberties’.”
By establishing this commission, President Trump is taking action to ensure that the ballot box remains inviolate, and that the crown jewel shines brighter than ever before, said the Vice President.
In remarks to the Commission, President Trump pledged that its work would be open to inspection and would “fairly and objectively follow the facts wherever they may lead.” He also attacked those officials who had refused to cooperate with the investigation, twice saying that voter data from their states would be “forthcoming” and raising doubts about their motives.
“One has to wonder what they’re worried about,” said the President. “There’s something. There always is.”
Democrats were quick to attack the Commission, former secretary of state in Missouri, Democrat Jason Kander, said at a news conference on Wednesday that the panel’s inquiry was a charade.
“This is not really a policy difference between the two parties” over the danger of fraud, he said, but “a political strategy for them that’s no different from where they run their TV ads, or where they send mailers, or whose doors they knock on. That’s what voter suppression is about for them.”
Top Democrats on Capitol Hill, including Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, wrote a letter Tuesday to Vice President Pence asking him to remove Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as the commission’s vice chairman and to drop the group’s recent request to state election officials for detailed voter information.
Thompson, the top Democrat on the Homeland Security Committee, Michigan Rep. John Conyers, the ranking member of the House Judiciary Committee, and others told Pence they were worried the request for voter data would “undermine the integrity of the commission.’’ They said they were also concerned the commission could be used as a “tool for voter suppression.”
Not to be outdone, Rep. Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, a former chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus claimed, “Our democracy is under siege… We know that race trumps all. We are being attacked by the White House … There is no democracy in the world that tries to keep people from voting but this one.’’
However, our friend, former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, a member of the Commission, had a different take.
Blackwell and attorney Ken Klukowski read into the record a law review article they authored entitled “The Other Voting Right: Protecting Every Citizen’s Vote by Safeguarding the Integrity of the Ballot Box,” published by the Yale Law & Policy Review.
In their article, they set forth that one way to articulate the right to vote secured by the Constitution is that every properly registered adult citizen has the right to an undiluted vote. Each elector has the right to a vote that carries its full weight, that when it is tallied has its maximum, proper effect to give that citizen a full voice in determining who among us will be entrusted with the powers of government for a term of office.
As they explained in the law review article, this really means the Constitution secures two voting rights. The first is the one we talk about most often: the franchise, the right to cast a ballot on Election Day. Most voting laws combat abuses rooted in the past that denied Americans access to the voting booth.
But there is a second right that accompanies the right to cast a ballot, and that is the right for a citizen’s legal ballot to not be diluted or cancelled out by anyone else’s illegal activity. That illegal activity could be voter fraud by casting a ballot in more than one precinct or State. It could be a noncitizen voting; whether that noncitizen is a legal alien or an illegal alien, if they are not citizens, then their ballots dilute the votes of American citizens. That illegal activity could be voter intimidation, or voter registration fraud. Or it could be foreign interference in our elections, whether from Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, or any other foreign power. This other voting right is a fundamental constitutional right against any such dilution or cancellation, and Blackwell and Klukowski argue that Commission’s mandate from the President of the United States to identify these threats and safeguard against them.
Another topic explored in this scholarly writing is that voting is perhaps the only fundamental right secured by the Constitution that is also a citizen’s duty. We all have the right to the free exercise of religion or to keep and bear arms, Blackwell and Klukowski note, but our form of government does not impose them upon us as duties. But when it comes to voting, the Constitution enables “election officials to presume that public-spirited citizens with due concern for the course of state and national policy should be willing to satisfy reasonable regulations and shoulder incidental burdens in the fulfillment of their civic duty.”
The Commission’s Vice Chairman, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, told the group that he had uncovered 128 cases of noncitizens who registered or tried to register in Kansas elections, but that the true number had been estimated to be as great as 18,000.
With access to data nationwide, he said, “this commission will have the ability to find answers to questions that have never been fully answered before” about the extent of illegal voting.
President Trump had it right in his opening remarks: This is not a Democrat or a Republican issue, it’s an American issue. It’s about the concern of so many Americans that improper voting has taken place and canceling out the votes of lawful American citizens.
President Theodore Roosevelt once said, it is the affair of every honest voter, wherever born, to see that no fraudulent voting is allowed anywhere. Which begs the question, if Democrats are so opposed to investigating illegal voting, are they honest voters?
Reprinted with permission from ConservativeHQ.com