For years the Right has been whipping up hysteria about mass illegal voting that simply doesn’t exist. President Trump made this a hallmark of his campaign and has continued to spread trumped-up claims of voter fraud while in office. Now he has a so-called “election integrity” commission to do his bidding, led by Vice President Pence and vote-suppressor-in-chief Kris Kobach. Their efforts are yet another solution in search of a problem—a dishonest distraction from the real voting problems that we need to solve.
One of Kobach’s first moves as commission vice chair was to request all publicly available data from voter rolls in all 50 states. Many state election officials have refused cooperation in whole or in part, or placed conditions on their cooperation. Those who have taken a stand should be applauded, and those who have yet to respond should reject Kobach’s request. That’s the message that People For the American Way sent in a letter yesterday led by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights.
PFAW and the Leadership Conference, along with more than 100 other organizations, are urging all state election officials to reject the Pence-Kobach request for sensitive voter data:
We strongly believe that the commission’s request is an unprecedented overreach and a brazen assault on the founding principles of our democracy. We have three overarching concerns. First, we are concerned that this commission is laying the groundwork for potential voter suppression by the wrongful removal of eligible voters, including Black, Hispanic, Native American, older, and student voters, from the rolls through the problematic process known as Crosscheck. Second, the creation of a national database of voters’ detailed information raises serious privacy concerns. And finally, at a time when the focus should be addressing the possibility of past and continued Russian interference, including cyberattacks in the 2016 elections, the creation of a national database raises significant national security concerns.
Nothing less than the strength of our democracy is at stake:
Our democracy is stronger when more, not fewer, citizens are involved in the electoral process. If the right to vote is denied, we will fail our democracy and it will not survive. Secretaries of State and election administrators have the mission and responsibility to ensure access to the ballot by upholding the guarantees of our laws and Constitution. All Secretaries of State and election administrators should stand united in protecting the voting rights of our nation’s citizens and rejecting the commission’s outrageous request.