POSTED BY MARTIN KICH
Under the heading “Trump’s Fraud Commission Has Big Problems,” Vox has offered the following summaries of those problems, with links to articles providing more detail:
During and after the 2016 campaign, Donald Trump released a relentless stream of allegations of widespread voter fraud across the country, with no evidence to back it up. [Politico / Eli Stokols]
Shortly after being elected, the president created a commission to investigate alleged election fraud. On Thursday, the commission started its work in earnest, asking states to send in their voter rolls. [NPR / Pam Fessler]
The commission is asking for a lot of very detailed and sensitive voter information from each state, including the full names, home addresses, dates of birth, political affiliations, the last four digits of social security numbers, elections they voted in since 2006, and information about voter registration in other states of everyone on their voter rolls. [Washington Post / Christopher Ingraham]
Commission Vice Chair Kris Kobach (Kansas secretary of state and avid Trump supporter) has also promised to make some of this information public, although he said the more sensitive information would be kept on a private government server. Nevertheless, it sparked privacy concerns from civil liberties advocates. [Kansas City Star / Bryan Lowry]
While voter rolls are technically public information, they contain a lot of sensitive information about individuals and contribute to identity theft. Social security numbers, however, are not public. [Gizmodo / Dell Cameron and Kate Conger]
Even more concerning, a new report states the commission was asking states to send this information to an email address that lacks even basic security protocols. [Gizmodo / Dell Cameron and Kate Conger]
There’s a lot of ways this could backfire for Trump. His allegations of voter fraud have been debunked numerous times, and the sweeping requests for voter data and any proposed subsequent changes to the country’s voting system based on the commission’s conclusions could alienate people on both the left and the right. [Slate / Richard Hasen]
In a statement explaining California’s refusal to comply, Secretary of State Alex Padilla asserted:
The President’s commission has requested the personal data and the voting history of every American voter–including Californians. As Secretary of State, it is my duty to ensure the integrity of our elections and to protect the voting rights and privacy of our state’s voters. I will not provide sensitive voter information to a commission that has already inaccurately passed judgment that millions of Californians voted illegally. California’s participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud made by the President, the Vice President, and Mr. Kobach. The President’s Commission is a waste of taxpayer money and a distraction from the real threats to the integrity of our elections today: aging voting systems and documented Russian interference in our elections.
The President’s appointment of Kobach–who has a long history of sponsoring discriminatory, anti-immigrant policies including voter suppression and racial profiling laws–sends a clear and ominous message. His role as vice chair is proof that the ultimate goal of the commission is to enact policies that will result in the disenfranchisement of American citizens.
I will continue to defend the right of all eligible voters to cast their ballots free from discrimination, intimidation or unnecessary roadblocks.
The list of other states who have refused to provide their voter lists to Kohlbach’s bogus commission includes:
Those that will not provide any information not publicly available by other means include:
And—get this–Kobach’s own state of Kansas!
And Kobach himself is the person who refused to comply with his own request. The following is from a news item, written by Bryan Lowry, for the Kansas City Star:
Kobach said Thursday that Kansas would provide all the information requested in the letter, but in a follow-up interview Friday, he said the state would not be sharing the Social Security information at this time.
“In Kansas, the Social Security number is not publicly available. … Every state receives the same letter, but we’re not asking for it if it’s not publicly available,” Kobach said.
He did not rule out the possibility of providing that information to the commission in the future.
“If the commission decides that they would like to receive Social Security numbers to a secure site in order to remove false positives, then we would have to double check and make sure Kansas law permits,” Kobach said.
Indeed, the secretaries of state from Indiana and Missouri are also on Kobach’s commission.
Lastly, despite devoting extensive resources to uncovering voter fraud in Kansas, Kobach has managed to convict only one person for voter fraud. Even granting that Kansas is only the 35th most populous of the 50 states, with a 2015 population estimated at 2,907,289, one guilty conviction is still, literally, the most minimal evidence of a problem with voter fraud that is possible.