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'Alien Invasion' report cover with picture of a flying saucer
A very serious report on a very serious issue, you bet.

After Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach repeatedly shit the bed in court last month while trying to defend his state’s requirement that people show proof of citizenship to register to vote (no verdict yet), we learn that another big name in the rightwing push to protect the voter rolls from non-existent hordes of non-citizens is in trouble, too. Mother Jones reported Thursday that one of the “experts” Kobach used at the trial, J. Christian Adams, has been sued by four voters in Virginia and by the Virginia chapter of the League of United Latin American Citizens, who accuse Adams of violating state defamation laws and federal civil rights laws against voter intimidation.

Adams heads an outfit called the “Public Interest Legal Foundation” (PILF), and he is such an expert on voter fraud that Kobach named him to Donald Trump’s great big fraudulent voting commission, which Kobach co-chaired with Mike Pence, at least until Trump disbanded it at the beginning of the year. Adams and PILF were also behind the publication of a 2016 voter fraud panic report titled “Alien Invasion in Virginia: The Discovery and Coverup of Noncitizen Registration and Voting” and a 2017 sequel (“Alien Invasion II,” natch, though the subtitle should have been “Electoral Boogaloo”), both of which claimed, on the basis of ridiculously crappy research, that THOUSANDS of non-citizens were fraudulently registered and voting in Virginia.

But is bad research really a “civil rights violation”? The plaintiffs think so, because the two reports didn’t just allege that more than 5,500 non-citizens had illegally registered, and that over 1,800 of them cast a total of 7,500 illegal ballots over the years, enough to have swung the outcome of some elections. It was far worse than just crappy research methods:

The reports’ indexes included names of these accused individuals, along with personal information including home addresses, phone numbers, and even some Social Security numbers (which were later redacted).

So yes, it accused over 1,800 people of felonies, which seems like rather a big deal.

The reports’ methodology was garbage, as MoJo explains. Adams and his buds gathered forms from the Virginia DMV, which include a question about whether an applicant is a citizen. If somebody leaves the question blank or checks the non-citizen box, they’re sent a postcard asking them to confirm they’re citizens within 14 days; if they don’t, they’re booted from the voter rolls. Of course, there are lots and lots of errors, and people often get back on the rolls after a mistake like that. That little detail was left out in both of PILF’s reports, which took it as a given that all the people who checked the wrong or no box had been “caught,” and had either voted illegally or re-registered in defiance of the law.

State voting officials even warned Adams he was misusing the data, and discussed over email with each other that the reports were misinterpreting the forms. Of course, those emails, obtained by FOIA, then became the basis for a claim in the second report that the state was covering up all the voter fraud, and that obviously the problem was even greater than anyone could know. Obviously, Adams concluded, the only solution would be to adopt a Kansas-style proof-of-citizenship requirement for registration, which would conveniently suppress voting among minorities, young people, and the elderly — people who vote for Democrats.

Adams and PILF have so far responded to the lawsuit with a press release insisting that any errors in the “Alien Invasion” reports are purely the state’s fault, so the group can’t be held responsible for drawing unsupported conclusions about felonious voting by people whose names it published:

“All documents and information included in the PILF report are from public documents from publicly available sources,” the statement says. “Any incorrect information is from the public records. The lawsuit against PILF is frivolous and intended to interfere with its mission of supporting the enforcement of the laws of the United States and the states against illegal voting by noncitizens.”

Too bad, so sad, not really our problem that we said a bunch of you were felons just because we made false assumptions about paperwork in the public record. If only Virginia would make it harder for people to vote, based on our crap research, then none of this unfortunate misunderstanding could have happened. (And yes, Virginia’s voter verification system does seem to be full of error. Maybe it could be fixed without arbitrarily throwing people off the voter rolls? Crazy, we know.)

Funny thing about all the claims of rampant voter fraud: They’re all, every damn one of them, based on sketchy data or deliberate lies about what the data really show. It’s almost as if someone were being dishonest here. Probably those lying illegal aliens voting for Hillary.

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[Mother Jones / Mother Jones / Alien Invasion / Alien Invasion II / hat tip to alert Wonkette Operative “Daniel” for “Electoral Boogaloo” joke]

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