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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

After states refuse to participate, Trump dissolves 'voter fraud' commission

Posted By on Wed, Jan 3, 2018 at 6:23 PM

click to enlarge PHOTO BY DAVID MCNEW/THINKSTOCK
  • PHOTO BY DAVID MCNEW/THINKSTOCK

Louisiana was among more than 40 states last summer that refused to submit detailed voter information requested by President Donald Trump's administration, which sought to investigate "voter fraud" through the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. On Jan. 3, Trump announced that he's dissolved the commission.

In a White House statement, Trump says rather than "engage in endless legal battles" over states' objections, he's handing the efforts over to the Department of Homeland Security.

Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler told Gambit in July that the commission "has quickly politicized its work by asking states for an incredible amount of voter data that I have, time and time again, refused to release."

“My response to the Commission is, you're not going to play politics with Louisiana’s voter data, and if you are, then you can purchase the limited public information available by law, to any candidate running for office," he said. "That’s it.”
Schedler, a Republican, was among many Republican and Democrat officials across the U.S. opposing the request, which critics feared would lead to further voter disenfranchisement, gerrymandering, and ending peoples' ability to register to vote through public agencies and programs.

In July, Commission Vice Chair Kris Kobach requested secretaries of state send over voter info (including in an effort to find policies that “enhance or undermine the American people’s confidence in the integrity of federal election processes.” Kobach, as Kansas Secretary of State, established rules requiring people show proof of citizenship to vote (a policy challenged by the American Civil Liberties Union) and created Kansas' Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, which crosschecks voter data to determine whether people are registered in more than one state. (Louisiana has used this program.)

Trump, meanwhile, has asserted that "millions" of fraudulent votes were cast in the 2016 election, despite there not being any evidence of that happening. "Despite substantial evidence of voter fraud, many states have refused to provide the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity with basic information relevant to its inquiry," Trump said in his Jan. 3 announcement.

Mississippi's Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann also opposed the request last year and said the commission should "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," Hosemann said.

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