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My Turn: Gardner must quit sham commission

  • Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap speaks during a voter registration meeting at the National Association of Secretaries of State conference on July 8 in Indianapolis. AP



For the Monitor
Sunday, November 26, 2017

Since its creation, the Trump Election Integrity Commission has been a complete sham, wasting tax payer dollars to justify the president’s voter fraud lies.

With the filing of Matt Dunlap’s recent lawsuit against the commission (of which he’s a member), it’s now apparent to honest observers that the only integrity connected with Trump’s commission rests with those who call it out as a fraud.

Dunlap is Maine’s secretary of state and a member of the commission; he knows how to spot a sham.

In his lawsuit, Dunlap alleges that any acts of bipartisanship have “been a façade.” He also claims that despite repeated requests, he has received no information about the commission since its last meeting in September, the one held at St. Anselm’s Institute of Politics in Manchester.

Dunlap’s allegations prove that from the outset, this commission has no real investigative work to perform. It is in fact a taxpayer-funded conspiracy theory incubator, created for people like Vice Chair Kris Kobach to spout his categorically false beliefs, like his lie that Sen. Maggie Hassan won her seat only because of illegal voting.

These voter fraud accusations are the same ones that came from Chris Sununu and Trump during their respective campaigns. Sununu went so far as to say that Massachusetts residents bused up to New Hampshire to vote illegally. Only after winning did Sununu change his tune and admit that voter fraud doesn’t exist in New Hampshire. And commission member and New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner has previously debunked these bogus accusations of voter fraud.

But despite his earlier assurances, Gardner remains on the very commission that is trying and failing to find evidence that suits the predetermined conclusions of Trump.

Dunlap understands what’s going on, which is why he is suing this commission. Gardner should join him as a party plaintiff. In fact, instead of preparing New Hampshire’s voter files to pass along to the commission, Gardner should act to protect our voters’ personal information and leave the commission to flounder in its foolishness.

For years, Republicans have stoked fears of voter fraud to justify laws that suppress votes. That’s exactly what happened here in New Hampshire when Gov. Sununu passed the voter suppression law, SB 3.

Gardner should stand against these absurd attacks perpetuated by the commission, Sununu and the Republican Party. He should work to inspire confidence in our already secure voting system. That’s not something he can do while sitting next to Kobach on what ought to be called Trump’s Commission to Deny People The Vote.

(Peter Hoe Burling of Cornish is a former legislator and member of the DNC.)