A leaked email obtained by the Washington Free Beacon shows a proposal floated by members of the a prominent left-wing professor's email listserv to form an academic commission to counter President Trump's voter fraud commission.
Trump signed an executive order on Thursday to establish a commission to investigate voter fraud in the United States. Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of state Kris Kobach will lead the new body, which will "study the systematic issues that have been raised over many years in terms of the integrity of the elections."
Shortly after the announcement, Rutgers University Professor Lorraine Minnite emailed UC Irvine Law School Chancellor Rick Hasen's email listserv in an effort to enroll members to "resist" Trump's commission, according to an email provided to the Free Beacon.
"To members of this listserve [sic], especially the academics: If the President does indeed create a commission to study voter fraud and voter suppression in the American election system to be headed by the Vice Preisdent [sic] and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, I'm calling on scholars of election administration to resist participation of any kind in such an effort," Minnite wrote. "We should expect a Pence-Kobach Commission to find ‘evidence' of rampant voter fraud across the U.S., and to recommend proposals to amend the Voting Rights Act and the National Voter Registration Act to require proof-of-citizenships to register and a national voter ID requirement, among other changes that will be damaging to voting rights and therefore, damaging to democracy."
Minnite went on to propose the formation of a commission of scholars and voting rights advocates to publicly push back against Trump's commission.
"I am proposing a Commission of scholars and voting rights advocates to gather information to inform the public. Such a commission (or a working group of some kind) does not need the participation of partisan luminaries or politicians for credibility," Minnite wrote. "With the assault on democracy underway, the most important divide is not between Democrats and Republicans, it is between lies and the truth, and democracy and authoritarianism. Please email me if you would like to be involved in organizing a non (not bi-) partisan commission on voter fraud and voter suppression to offer evidence, facts and analysis that the public will need to sort through what we can anticipate will come out of a Pence-Kobach Commission."
Minnite, who authored The Myth of Voter Fraud and Keeping Down the Black Vote: Race and Demobilization of American Voters, would not comment on the proposal after the Free Beacon refused to name the source of who sent the email.
"Dear Mr. Schoffstall: Could I ask you who gave you that email?" Minnite wrote after being contacted for comment. After refusing to name the source, the Free Beacon asked again if she would like to comment. "Not unless you tell me who sent you the email," Minnite said.
"Foes of the commission are trying to cover up crimes," Logan Churchwell, spokesman for the Public Interest Legal Foundation, an Indiana-based group that litigates to protect election integrity, said of the proposed academic commission. "They are accessories after the fact to voter fraud."
UPDATE 5/20/17: Hasen pointed out that his listserv is not secret and that the emails are publicly posted and accessible through an obscure URL. The email, however, is legit.