Democracy Dies in Darkness

The Fix

A database error may be why Jared Kushner appeared to be registered to vote as a woman

By Rachel Chason

September 28, 2017 at 4:49 PM

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Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, used a private email account to conduct official business. (Elyse Samuels, Deirdra O'Regan/The Washington Post)

Jared Kushner's bad week just got a little weirder.

On Sunday, Politico reported that the presidential son-in-law and adviser corresponded with top White House officials through a private email server (and he wasn't the only one). On Monday, a prankster impersonating the real estate scion — apparently convincingly — asked his lawyer what to do with pictures "featuring adult content" he said he had received. The lawyer responded: "Don't delete. Don't send to anyone. Let's chat in a bit."

While reports about Kushner's emails are not analogous with those on Hillary Clinton's, they nonetheless raised questions about security and hypocrisy in the chaotic Trump White House, from which Trump ridiculed Clinton for her use of a private email server long after Election Day.

The news on Wednesday was different, but nonetheless eyebrow-raising: When Jared Kushner registered to vote in 2009, he was listed as a woman. Democratic opposition research group American Bridge spotted the error, which was first reported by Wired on Wednesday.

It was an elections database error that led to him being falsely listed as female, not a mistake on Kushner's part, The New York Daily News reported on Thursday.

Board of Elections Executive Director Michael Ryan confirmed to The New York Daily News that the error was on the board's part.

"It does happen from time to time," Ryan told the Daily News. "I wouldn't call it a common occurrence."

Related: [On Jared Kushner’s emails, the real problem is the media’s hypocrisy]

Democratic opposition research group American Bridge spotted the error, which was first reported by Wired on Wednesday.

When Wired first reported that Kushner was listed as female on Wednesday, it prompted any number of questions.

There were only two options on the New York voter registration form he filled out: M, for male, and F, for female.

Did he mean to register as a female? Was it unintentional? If so, how did he mess that up?

A spokesperson for Kushner did not respond to a request for comment. Before 2009, his New Jersey voter registration noted his gender as "unknown," The Hill reported.

It's not the first time Kushner has run into trouble with important paperwork.

This summer, The Washington Post's Matt Zapotosky reported that three times, Kushner had filed updates to his national security questionnaire because of missing information.

The first time Kushner's national security questionnaire was submitted Jan. 18, the form did not list his foreign contact and got the dates of his graduate degrees and his father-in-law's address wrong.

Related: [Kushner’s damning account: At the very least, he’s in over his head]

"Kushner can't even fill out the most basic paperwork without screwing it up, so it's a mystery why anyone thinks he's somehow going to bring peace to the Middle East," Brad Bainum, a spokesman for the Democratic political action committee American Bridge, told Wired.

Trump has given Kushner, his son-in-law and senior adviser, a long list of responsibilities. Among other things, the 36-year-old has been charged with bringing peace to the Middle East, reforming care for veterans and fighting opioid addiction.

A small group of White House lawyers this summer reportedly urged Kushner to step down amid a broadening probe into whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russians in the 2016 election, but the idea to force him out was ultimately rejected.

The news that Kushner had registered to vote as a woman also struck some as ironic, given Trump's emphasis on rooting out allegedly rampant voter fraud, which he has so far failed to identify.

Kushner, along with former White House press secretary Sean Spicer and former chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, had registered to vote in two states during the fall election, The Washington Post reported earlier this year. Dual registration was one of the signs Trump pointed to when claiming widespread voter fraud in the 2016 election, which has led to a "major investigation" into his unsubstantiated claim that millions of people illegally cast votes for Clinton.

Earlier this month, Trump's voter fraud commission, which is chaired by Vice President Pence, got off to a rocky start at its first meeting in New Hampshire, with Democratic members openly questioning whether conservative analysts were overstating evidence of voting fraud.

But Kushner's misstated gender likely does not constitute a voter fraud, according to Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt.

"There has to be an intent to give the false information," Levitt told Wired. "If he (for some reason) knowingly registered as a woman — for what purpose, I could not guess — that might be described as voter fraud, though it would have negligible effect on the determination of his eligibility, and so wouldn't amount to much anyway."

Comedian Samantha Bee, the host of TBS' "Full Frontal," is not cutting Kushner any slack.

Bee, a vocal Trump critic, tweeted the article on Wednesday with the phrase "lock her up," turning the common chant Trump supporters used on Clinton against Kushner.

This story has been updated.

Read more:

Trump's voter fraud commission proves a magnet for controversy

Kushner used private email account for some White House business

Why Jared Kushner has had to update his disclosure of foreign contacts more than once


Rachel graduated from Duke University in 2017 and is a reporting intern covering local politics.

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