By Charles Stewart III for The Washington Post
On Wednesday, President Trump announced that he had terminated his Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. This has raised a variety of important questions about the commission’s work and what comes next. Here’s what you need to know.
What was the commission and why was it controversial?
The commission was appointed in May 2017 after Trump had made unsubstantiated claims that 3 million to 5 million people had fraudulently voted in the 2016 election. The commission was chaired by Vice President Pence, with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as vice chair.
Its formal charge was to investigate ways to improve confidence in the electoral system and to investigate “those vulnerabilities in voting systems and practices used for Federal elections that could lead to improper voter registrations and improper voting, including fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting.”
The commission’s first formal act was to request the states to send it their voter registration lists, including personal information such as Social Security numbers. This request was met with bipartisan opposition. Although some states did send some information, no state fully complied with the request; most states replied as they would have replied to any public request for voter registration lists. The request for the voter file lists, along with the secrecy that surrounded committee decision-making, led to a number of lawsuits.
Why disband the commission?
The White House cited the failure of the states to comply with data requests and ongoing lawsuits as the reason for disbanding the committee.
But more generally, the commission had become an issue for those who wished to aggressively pursue charges of voting fraud. Despite the high-minded charge given to the commission, it was clear all along that it had a narrower mission: vigorously pursue the claim that there were millions of double-voters and noncitizen voters in the 2016 election.Charles Stewart, Voter Suppression, Washington Post
Categorised in: Voting News