Member of Trump’s voter fraud commission praises poll taxes and literacy tests
President Trump’s sham commission about imaginary fraudulent voting meets for the second time on Tuesday, and as a friendly reminder that the entire exercise is racist conspiracy, one of the commission’s members told The New York Times he thinks Jim Crow policies that mass-disenfranchised black voters were actually good.
This curious bit of analysis comes from New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner. Per the Times:
Mr. Gardner said he did not necessarily favor imposing new qualifications for registering and voting, but he added that when burdens like poll taxes and literacy tests were imposed on citizens and registering often required a trip to the local courthouse, voter turnout was far higher than it is now.
Hmm. Interesting. Just for kicks, let’s review the impact of the types of restrictions for which Gardner feels nostalgic.
From New York University law professor Richard Pildes’ 2000 paper, “Democracy, Anti-Democracy, and the Canon“:
In Louisiana, in 1896 there had been 130,334 black voters on the registration rolls and around the same number of white voters (the state’s population was about 50percent white and black); by 1900, two years after the new constitution, registered black voters numbered a mere 5,320. By 1910, 730 registered black voters were left (less than 0.5 percent of eligible black men). … In South Carolina, black legislators had been the majority in the lower house during Reconstruction; by 1896, the entire state had only 5,500 black voters registered. In Alabama, in 1900 there were 181,471 eligible black voters, but only 3,000 were registered after the new constitutional provisions took effect. In Virginia, there was a 100% drop—in other words, to zero—in estimated black voter turnout between the Presidential elections of 1900 and 1904. North Carolina managed the same complete elimination of black voter turnout over an eight-year period, between the Presidential elections of 1896 and 1904.
On Friday, Gardner, the longest-tenured state secretary in the country, rejected demands by the four Democratic members of New Hampshire’s congressional delegation to step down from Trump’s commission.
Lawmakers criticized Gardner after commission vice chairman/Breitbart columnist Kris Kobach described Senator Maggie Hassan’s electoral victory in 2016 as “stolen through voter fraud.” Kobach based his claim on statistics showing that 5,313 people registered to vote in New Hampshire with an out-of-state driver’s license and never applied later for an in-state license — completely normal activity among the state’s 34,000 college students, many of which are licensed in other states but vote in the state in which they reside and attend school.
“You don’t judge a book by its cover,” Gardner explained to the Times about his participation in the commission. “You judge at the end.”
If this effort isn’t disbanded, it will, in the end, produce deliberately misleading analysis of voting statistics, endorsed by the White House, that will be used to further suppress minority voters. It’s not a novel.
[screen shot: CSPAN]