President Trump’s so-called “election integrity” commission will meet next week in New Hampshire. This is the second convening of Trump’s voter suppression cadre, people like Kris Kobach and Hans von Spakovsky who have built careers on the idea that only certain people should vote and who are now tasked with “proving” Trump’s unfounded accusation that millions of “illegal” voters cost him the election.
There’s no doubt that their September 12 meeting will be another platform for them to promote the fraud myth and advance their regressive voting agenda. The resistance movement that has stood strong and united on so many issues must continue to stand strong as the commission moves forward—sending the message that suppressing the democratic participation of people of color and other marginalized communities is wrong. It was wrong fifty years ago when the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) was signed into law. It was wrong in 2013 when the Supreme Court gutted a key VRA provision in its Shelby County decision. It is still wrong today.
Calling this commission what it is—a sham—is important. At the same time, there’s much work that we can and should do to advance voting rights. As Jen Herrick, senior policy analyst at People For the American Way, wrote this week in an op-ed in The Progressive:
We must also keep pushing Congress and state and local legislators for a full slate of voting reforms that will expand access to the ballot box. This is already happening across the country.
Illinois and Rhode Island just took big steps forward with automatic voter registration. Maryland and Virginia have restored voting rights to some formerly incarcerated people; Florida might soon follow. Starting in 2018, Nevada will pre-register 17-year-olds and let them vote as soon as they turn 18.