Trump’s ‘Election Integrity’ Commission 101

With Trump’s ‘Election Integrity’ Commission holding their second meeting today, here’s everything you need to know about the Commission and what you can do to stop their efforts.

The Commission

In May 2017, Trump formed the ‘Election Integrity’ Commission, naming Vice President Mike Pence as the Chair and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as the Vice Chair. The stated purpose of the Commission is “to study vulnerabilities in voting systems used for federal elections that could lead to improper voter registrations, improper voting, fraudulent voter registrations, and fraudulent voting.”

In reality, the Commission is stacked with individuals who have a history of crafting policies designed to make it more difficult for certain people to vote. As Governor of Indiana, Pence supported actions to make it harder to register to vote. And, Kris Kobach is a well-known voter suppressionist, having developed and implemented Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck, a program that removes eligible voters from the rolls and disproportionately affects racial minorities. Learn more about all the Commissioners, and their backgrounds, at Common Cause’s in-depth report.

The Commission’s Actions

Since forming, the true goal of the Commission has been revealed: to uncover ‘evidence’ for Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that three million people voted illegally and to provide a pretext for changing the law to make voting harder.

Even before its first meeting, the Commission likely violated federal law by failing to provide meeting notice, make relevant meeting documents public, and open its meeting to the public. The ACLU and the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights have filed lawsuits alleging these violations.

As one of the Commission’s first actions, Kobach sent a letter to the Secretaries of State in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, asking them to compile and send extensive data on their voters. He requested not just names and addresses, but also other deeply personal information, like dates of birth, social security numbers, political party affiliation, and every election voted in dating back to 2006. Eighteen states plus DC are refusing to comply with this request at all; and 29 states will only provide public voter information.

Finally, within just two short months of forming, the Commission has already failed to protect private information. In mid-July, the White House publicly posted all emails it had received from concerned citizens without censoring private information, making names, emails, addresses, and phone numbers public. This is just made worst by the fact that many of these citizens were emailing with their concerns that their private voting information would be made public. It’s easy to see the irony, but difficult to see why this already-failed Commission is still in existence.

The Outcome

The Commission’s efforts are already suppressing voters. Kobach’s request actually prompted thousands of eligible voters to remove themselves from the rolls, concerned about how the Commission might use their data.

And that is just the beginning; we don’t have a clear picture of what the Commission will do with the voter roll data, nor do we fully understand whether they will protect that data. With the Commission meeting today, we need to fight back.

What You Can Do

We need to take action. First, sign our petition to stop the Commission; here’s the link.

Next, check your state’s stance on Kobach’s data request here. If they are complying with any part of the request, contact your state election administrator — you can find their contact information here — and ask them to refuse to comply at all. Here is a script to use when you call.

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