Issued on June 28, 2017
Update: January 3, 2018
On January 3, 2018, President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order terminating the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. President Trump had created the commission last year to investigate whether there were instances of voter fraud and of non – citizens voting in U.S. elections. The Commission was viewed as a desperate attempt to investigate a problem that was seen as non – existent. After numerous states refused to hand over voter rolls information that contained sensitive personal data of voters others began to speak out on the sham nature of the commission. Two Republican strategists who had worked on campaigns for decades said they had never seen any instances of voter fraud. And members of the commission itself began to question the usefulness of the commission after getting no response to simple requests and inquiries into the commission’s activities. As Dale Ho, Director of the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project said, “This commission was a sham from the start and everyone recognized it.” LEARN MORE
On May 11, 2017, President Donald Trump signed an Executive Order that established the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Section 3 of the order explains the mission of the commission, which is to “study the registration and voting processes used in Federal elections.” On June 28, 2017, Kris W. Kobach, the Vice Chair of the Commission sent an identical letter to all 50 states and the District of Columbia requesting voter roll data from each state which could be submitted through an online portal. The information requested includes highly sensitive personal information such as birthdate, partial social security numbers, addresses, voting history and military status in a stated attempt to “fully analyze vulnerabilities and issues related to voter registration and voting.” LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE
The personal information requested by Vice Chair Kris Kobach of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is a meaningless gesture. The establishment of the Advisory Commission overlooks a report by the Washington Post in January that found nine investigations into voter fraud that found virtually nothing. There are investigations from academia, from the George W. Bush Administration, from a major newspaper and even statements from President Trump’s own lawyers claiming there was no fraud in the 2016 election! The appointment of Kris Kobach hints at a possible motive for the Trump Administration as the former Kansas Secretary of State has a long history of making exaggerated voter fraud allegations and of illegally trying to suppress voting rights. With overwhelming evidence from a variety of sources already, it is questionable whether another investigation will yield any new conclusions. Forty – four states and D.C. have refused the commission’s request on privacy grounds but it is clear that part of the reason is that a good segment of the population and the states are fed up with the lies put forth by the Administration that could lead to misuse of personal data to suppress votes in the future and dubious new voting policies, especially in light of Mr. Kobach’s prior advocacy of questionable voting programs. LEARN MORE, LEARN MORE
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) – web page petition to remove Kris Kobach from Commission.
- Brennan Center for Justice – web page analyzing President Trump’s “election fraud” commission.
This brief was compiled by Rod Maggay. If you have comments or want to add the name of your organization to this brief, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.