And why that should be looked at as incredibly troubling…
Between the Senate GOP’s healthcare bill and disparaging tweets from the President of the United States over a female news personality’s looks, you would have been forgiven for missing news regarding President Donald Trump’s Election Integrity Commission. Before the July 4th recess, the committee that was commissioned by President Trump to investigate on the unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud, and had asked states to handover sensitive voter information. As you may have already guessed, this is by no means a normal request.
The request stems from an Executive Order by President Donald Trump in which a commission to study the problem of “rampant voter fraud” would be formed. As we all know, VOTER FRAUD IN THE US IS BASICALLY NON-EXISTENT!! But still, the request raises some interesting questions.
Question #1: What type of information does President Trump’s Election Integrity Committee actually want?
Inbox: Readout of the Vice President's Call with the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity pic.twitter.com/wnOSYsqmaN
— Zeke Miller (@ZekeJMiller) June 28, 2017
In a letter before the July 4th recess by Kansas’ Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Vice President Mike Pence – the two in charge of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity – they requested massive amounts of information regarding voter data. Some of the specific voter data that they had requested in the letter include:
Military Service Status
History of Felony Convictions
Question #2: Wouldn’t it be normal for a committee like this one to ask such personal information from the state?
— Zoe Tillman (@ZoeTillman) July 5, 2017
Well, yes and no.
Considering that the voting integrity commission is investigating on the allegations of voter fraud, it would be natural for them to request voter data from multiple states. However, the fear that many groups have regarding the request – especially a group that was created by the Trump administration – is how they would use that data.
Some fear that the Trump administration could use the data to prove voter fraud by coming to some inaccurate conclusions, like claiming voter fraud exists due to outdated voter registries. Others, particularly civil rights groups, are worried the Trump administration could use the voter data to suppress certain voting groups that they deem problematic, all in the name of voter fraud. Yet make no mistake, asking for voter data that includes criminal records and party affiliation is very unusual, and if we’re being honest, a bit troubling!
Question #3: So is this even legal for this commission on voter integrity to ask for such sensitive voter data?
In all honesty, no one’s really sure. Mostly because a request of this magnitude to help build a national voter database is an unusual one. Last week, it was reported that the Department of Justice (DOJ) had started to ask states for their voting records, so it isn’t outside the realm of possibility that this question of legality could be answered in the courts fairly soon.
Question #4: Are states complying to the commission’s requests for their voter data?
Maryland denies Trump's Election Commission request for voter data. This is a response worth reading. pic.twitter.com/roWUSvXErY
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) July 3, 2017
Multiple outlets have reported that the majority of states wouldn’t comply with the full request. Of the 50 states, it’s being reported that 44 states have rejected the commission’s request. For the majority of states, they pointed to the Voter Integrity Commission’s request going too far, fearing the information could be made public. However, according to CNN, some states – which include Missouri, Tennessee, and Colorado – said the commission’s request was legitimate, but still made it clear that they would not release the information that the commission had requested.
Based on multiple official statements from state entities, it’s unlikely these states are going to give up this information. For state governments, they feel voter information particularly falls under the responsibility of state sovereignty. If that is the case – and it sure looks like that – the commission could have a rough time getting that data.
Question #5: How is the Trump administration taking the news of states rejecting the commission’s request?
Numerous states are refusing to give information to the very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL. What are they trying to hide?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2017
As the above tweet shows, about how you would expect.
For President Trump, states not complying with the commission’s request just adds to his assertion that some kind of conspiracy is going on with voter registries. As for the administration as a whole, it’s unclear how seriously they view the supposed voter fraud problem in the US. Unless his entire administration is willing to search for an answer that has no problem, then the commission itself can’t be taken that seriously.
However, considering the commission’s most recent request, President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission looks to not be going anywhere, anytime soon.
(Photo Credit: Pixabay.com, Google Images)