Kris Kobach, the head of Donald Trump's voter fraud commission.

Screengrab via Edify Multimedia/YouTube

Member of Trump’s voter-fraud panel has an idea: Background checks for all voters

John Lott, who brought up the idea, has criticized gun background checks in the past.


Andrew Wyrich


Posted on Sep 12, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 5:40 pm CDT

One member of President Donald Trump’s voter fraud committee on Tuesday suggested that voters be subjected to the same background check standards as gun owners.

During the commission’s second meeting on Tuesday afternoon, John Lott Jr., a member of the “election integrity” commission headed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, said a background check system similar to the one run by the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco was the best measure to curb voter fraud—an issue primarily elevated by Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election.

Lott’s proposal to the commission would implement a background check system that could not only erroneously flag someone as ineligible to vote but could also deter someone who is distrustful of the government from engaging in the political process, Mother Jones reports.

“It’s the same things that disqualify you from owning a gun that disqualify you from voting,” Lott reportedly said when challenged on his idea. 

Several other members of the commission vocally opposed the idea.

Lott’s research on gun ownership has been touted by the National Rifle Association for decades, the website notes.

The Washington Post reports that Lott has questioned the validity of gun background checks, calling them “rife with errors,” which makes it seem disingenuous that he would advocate for them for use in voting.

“Given the previous criticism of the background check system by John Lott, and the fact that the structure of voting regulation is entirely different than the regulation of guns, it’s hard to believe this is a serious proposal,” Adam Winkler, a constitutional law specialist at UCLA, told the Post.

Trump’s election integrity commission has faced enormous pushback from states, particularly after it requested first names, last names, birthdays, last four digits of Social Security numbers, and voting histories dating back to 2006 for every voter. The public outcry reached the level of absurdity when Americans were asked to comment on the commission’s agenda and immediately was sent a link to the infamous shock-photo goatse.

H/T Mother Jones

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*First Published: Sep 12, 2017, 4:22 pm CDT