Rutgers Prof Launches Effort to Oppose Trump’s ‘Election Integrity’ Commission

voter-suppression AP

President Donald Trump’s announcement that he is launching a commission to investigate “election integrity” was only hours old before a politics professor at Rutgers University began organizing educators to “resist” the effort.

On Thursday, the White House announced that the president would sign an executive order creating the commission and charging it with reviewing the 2016 election to determine if there was any widespread vote fraud or vote suppression. The commission is to be headed by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the White House said.

“The Commission will review policies and practices that enhance or undermine the American people’s confidence in the integrity of Federal elections,” a White House official reportedly told the Daily Caller. “This will include reviewing laws and activities that lead to improper registrations, improper voting, fraudulent registrations, fraudulent voting, and voting suppression.”

The commission would serve to fulfill another one of Trump’s campaign promises to root out voter fraud. Just after his election, for instance, Trump said he would launch a “major investigation” into illegal voting.

But the news of the new commission had barely been reported when a Rutgers political science professor began organizing her “resistance” to the effort to investigate voter fraud.

Lorraine Carol Minnite, a professor of political science, as well as an associate professor of public policy at Rutgers University-Camden, jumped to an educators listserve to enlist the participation of professors, teachers, and educrats across the country to oppose Trump’s commission.

The message, also circulated by Rick Hasen, a leader in urging academics to oppose any election integrity projects, called on the education community to “resist participation” in the commission.

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. 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-citizenship to register and a national voter ID requirement, among other changes that will be damaging to voting rights and therefore, damaging to democracy.

Not only did the Rutgers prof urge educators to turn their back on Trump’s commission, but she went on to propose they create their own working group to present alternate facts to Trump’s effort.

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. 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 did not outline how this group might be “nonpartisan” when so few conservatives or even Republicans work in the field of education.

Responding to Professor Minnite’s proposition, a spokesperson for the Public Interest Legal Foundation said, “The ink isn’t even on the paper yet and the #Resistance movement is already having fits. Why? Because the organized left is losing territory it, for generations, has lorded over with an almost perfect monopoly. Tinkering with election rules is a final safe harbor for a partisan entity that has lost on ideas and finds itself in the political wilderness. This is how the left acts when you play in their sandbox.”

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at


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