Voter Integrity or Suppression?
July 6, 2017
The Trump Administration has set off yet another public firestorm with last week's request from the newly formed Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.
Despite his electoral victory over Hillary Clinton in November, Trump has repeatedly attributed his loss of the popular vote to unsubstantiated claims that "millions" of undocumented immigrants voted in US elections.
The 17-member Commission was appointed by President Trump: Vice President Pence, Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson (R), New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner (D), Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap (D), former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell (R), US Election Assistance Commissioner Christy McCormick (R), former Arkansas State Representative David Dunn (D), Wood County, West Virginia Clerk Mark Rhodes (D), and Heritage Foundation Senior Legal Fellow Hans von Spakovsky (R).
In one of the most contentious presidential elections in history, voting was closely monitored by political parties and independent organizations. Although the larger issue of online interference by Russia is still ongoing, investigations of voter fraud at the ballot box have come up empty.
The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, created by Executive Order in May, is charged with "producing a set of recommendations to increase the American people's confidence in the integrity of our election systems."
Opponents claim the Commission is a calculated ploy to suppress voters' access to registration and the polls by tightening ID requirements and making it easier to purge voter rolls.
"The release of private information creates a tremendous breach of trust with voters who work hard to protect themselves against identity fraud. ... This Commission needs to understand clearly (that) disclosure of such sensitive information is more likely to diminish voter participation rather than foster it."
-- Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler (R)
On June 28th, the Commission's Chair, Vice President Mike Pence, and Vice Chair, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), sent a letter to all 50 states and the District of Columbia requesting unprecedentedly personal voter information, including date of birth, political party, last four digits of social security number, voter history from 2006 onward, active/inactive status, and information regarding voter registration in another state, military status, overseas citizen information and any felony convictions.
The letter, which has been met with significant backlash from Democrats and Republicans, was directed to Secretaries of State - which are the arbiters of elections in each state. So far, 45 states have refused to give the data requested to the Commission.
|"They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico... Mississippi residents should celebrate Independence Day and our State's right to protect the privacy of our citizens by conducting our own electoral processes."
-- Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann (R)
The super voter roll was originally to be managed by the General Services Administration (GSA), but the plan shifted to maintaining the lists on White House computers under the direction of Vice President Pence's staff.
The change was revealed in a government filing required as a result of lawsuit initiated by the watchdog group Electronic Privacy Information Center, which has asked a federal judge in Washington to block the requests for voter data "until the impact on Americans' privacy can be fully assessed."
A decision on the temporary restraining order is expected this week by U. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, who was asked by the Administration to toss out the EPIC lawsuit.
As always, DemList will keep you informed.
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Sources: The Washington Post, EPIC