By Heidi Hess, Senior Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets (7/3/17)
Donald Trump’s voter suppression commission is “laying the groundwork for voter suppression, plain & simple.”1 The commission has not even had its first meeting but its vice chair – one of the worst perpetrators of voter suppression in the country, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach – just made a dangerous, unprecedented demand to state election officials: give me your voter rolls, now.2
Election integrity advocates immediately raised alarms about Kobach’s massive data request. Our friends at the Brennan Center said the request could be used to “justify regressive and disenfranchising federal law.” Other experts highlighted that the commission’s plan to make all the data public poses a dangerous privacy risk.3
State election officials are under no obligation to provide the data Kobach is demanding. Officials from 14 states have already indicated they will not comply in any way with the commission’s demand. Officials in every state should wholly reject the request and refuse to provide even one piece of data to Kobach and his right-wing voter suppression commission.
No state should collaborate in any way with Trump’s voter suppression commission. Click the link below to tell governors and state election officials to refuse to let any of their state’s voter data be used to undermine democracy.
Trump and extremist right-wing Republicans relentlessly perpetuate the myth of voter fraud to cast doubt on the electoral process, reinforce racism, undermine the voting power of communities of color and justify laws that suppress the vote. Trump’s commission is designed to legitimize the voter fraud myth and supercharge suppression efforts at the national level.
The scale of private data that Kobach requested is staggering. He requested:
the full first and last names of all registrants, middle names or initials if available, addresses, dates of birth, political party (if recorded in your state), last four digits of social security number if available, voter history (elections voted in) from 2006 onward, active/inactive status, cancelled status, information regarding any felony convictions, information regarding voter registration in another state, information regarding military status, and overseas citizen information.4
Voting rights advocates worry that Kobach is trying to use the data to expand his reckless and discriminatory Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck program. Crosscheck is supposed to prevent double voting, but it encourages and enables voter purges. The system kicks two hundred eligible voters, often young people and African-American, Latinx and Asian-American voters, off the rolls for every double vote it finds.5,6 Only 32 states participate in Crosscheck now. Having 50 states’ data would allow Kobach to purge voters nationwide. No state should help him do that.
Trump has stacked his commission with people infamous for their efforts to suppress the vote, including Mike Pence, Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson and former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell.7,8,9 The day after Kobach sent his letter to the states, Trump added Hans von Spakovsky, who politicized and gutted the Department of Justice’s voter protection work during the George W. Bush administration, to the commission.10
As of yesterday, Democratic and Republican officials in 14 states from California to Mississippi have said they will refuse to comply with the commission’s data request.11-15 California Secretary of State Alex Padilla has said he will not share anything with the commission because “participation would only serve to legitimize [Trump, Pence and Kobach’s] false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud.”16 Officials in 23 states have said they will share limited data that is part of the public record.17 Thirteen states are undecided.18 They all need to follow California’s lead and refuse to enable or legitimize Trump’s attempts to steal the vote.
No state should collaborate in any way with Trump’s voter suppression commission. Click the link below to tell governors and state election officials to refuse to let any of their state’s voter data be used to undermine democracy:
Thanks for helping protect the right to vote.
- Christopher Ingraham, “Trump’s voter-fraud commission wants to know voting history, party ID and address of every voter in the U.S.” The Washington Post, June 29, 2017.
- Jessica Huseman, “Presidential commission demands massive amounts of state voter data,” ProPublica, June 29, 2017.
- Ari Berman, “The Trump administration is planning an unprecedented attack on voting rights,” The Nation, June 30, 2017.
- Greg Palast, “The GOP’s stealth war against voters,” Rolling Stone, Aug. 24, 2017.
- Robert King, “Was Indiana No. 1 in failing to do our civic duty?” The Indy Star, Nov. 12, 2014.
- Vanessa Williams, “Group accuses Mike Pence of voter suppression after state police raid registration program in Indiana,” The Washington Post, Oct. 15, 2016.
- Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., “Was the 2004 election stolen?” Common Dreams, June 1, 2006.
- Sam Levine, “Donald Trump’s latest election commission pick is a huge believer in voter fraud conspiracy,” HuffPost, June 30, 2017.
- Philip Bump and Christopher Ingraham, “Trump says states are ‘trying to hide’ things from his voter fraud commission. Here’s what they actually say.” The Washington Post, July 1, 2017
- Ari Berman, “Tweet,” July 3, 2017
- Sam Levine, “Tweet,” July 3, 2017
- Bradd Jaffy, “Tweet,” July 3, 2017
- Ari Berman, “Tweet,” July 3, 2017
- John Myers, “California’s top elections officer to Trump’s voting fraud panel: No,” Los Angeles Times, June 29, 2017.
- Philip Bump and Christopher Ingraham, “Trump says states are ‘trying to hide’ things from his voter fraud commission. Here’s what they actually say.“