Tuesday, 23 January, 2018

Kelly Hawes: Trump's election commission bites the dust

Kris Kobach Trump disbands voter fraud commission, says Homeland Security will take over investigation
Melinda Barton | 12 January, 2018, 18:04

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders explained the president chose to dissolve the commission by executive order "rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense".

"It is clear from the White House's statement this evening that American voters still need to be protected from this administration's hostility to voting rights and secure elections", Karen Hobert Flynn, president of Common Cause, said in a statement reacting.

DONALD TRUMP has scrapped a commission into allegations of voter fraud at the 2016 election.

The president disbanded the controversial panel focused on "election integrity", blaming a refusal by more than a dozen states to provide what he called "basic information".

"If (DHS) were to start investigating these non-existent voter fraud claims, that would be very problematic", said Edgardo Cortes, Virginia's chief election official, who rejected the commission's request a year ago for data about voters registered in Virginia. And it offends officials in many Republican-controlled states that voters who are most likely to vote Democratic - such as younger Americans, immigrants and African-Americans - don't have to jump through more hoops to exercise that right.

Trump on Wednesday ended his investigation into voter fraud, which he has repeatedly claimed without evidence is the reason Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election.

The commission was a contrived creation from the start, and the decision to kill it is another blow to Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach's ongoing efforts to suppress voting in America.

Trump's executive order kept open the possibility that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security would continue to investigate voter fraud.

"President Trump has tried and failed to spread his own fake news about voter fraud", he added.

In June, the White House said in a statement it suspected several voters in the country were unregistered, resulting in voter fraud.

Now comes the pressing question: Do Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans actually care about the integrity of the vote? They asked all 50 states and the District of Columbia to hand over personal voter data including voters' names, voting histories and party affiliations. "System is rigged, must go to Voter I.D.", he tweeted.

State Division of Elections Director Robert Giles rejected the panel's request for other data, including the last four digits of Social Security numbers, felony convictions, military service and registrations in other states.

That's the end game, to make voter ID mandatory because such requirements put up stumbling blocks so it is harder for certain people to vote. The administration could also still move forward with voter suppression efforts such as voter roll purges or voter identification laws.