Trump's voter fraud commission forced to pause data collection

Thursday, 13 Jul, 2017

President Donald Trump's commission on election fraud is telling states to hold off on providing detailed voter information in the face of increasing legal challenges.

Trump created the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in May, with Vice President Mike Pence at the helm and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as vice chairman.

The commission has a meeting scheduled for July 19, which will only be available to the public by live stream.

A coalition of civil rights organizations and Florida residents filed a federal lawsuit Monday against Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner and a White House commission, accusing them of potentially violating state and federal laws to try to build a nationwide voter database.

The ACLU and lawmakers in New Hampshire have also sued the commission and other lawsuits challenging its work have been filed in Washington courts.

With a judge's ruling on the privacy center's request for an injunction pending, the commission on Monday sent follow-up emails to election officials in the 50 states, including Gardner.

Clark said the lawsuit also charges that Trump and Kobach are using the commission to advance their own personal agendas - Trump to validate his claim that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally past year and Kobach to help his run for governor of Kansas.

Merrill added that this is because constituents haven't been presented the necessary data to "make an informed decision on their personal position", because of the state's lack of knowledge "from the commission as a whole".

The ACLU also alleges in its complaint that Trump broke a federal rule that requires that advisory panels can not be inappropriately influenced by the person who appoints them. EPIC also says the commission is asking the states to forward the data to an unsecure website, the Department of Defense Safe File Exchange site.

Allen's bill makes it illegal for the D.C. Board of Elections to provide Trump's commission with information about voters beyond what is already publicly available. He also charged the commission could "distract from the real threat to our democracy: Russian interference in our elections" and called on Trump to do more to hold the Russians accountable.

Several studies have shown that - contrary to what Trump thinks - widespread voter fraud does not exist.

Some of the public uproar is more directed to the goal of this commission.

After days of criticism from Florida Democrats, Detzner's office announced last Thursday it would release only publicly available information covered by the presidential commission's request.

"If the commission gets heavy-handed with them, it seems to me that the states are within their right to say, 'No, we don't have to respond because you didn't go through [OIRA],'" Dudley told The Hill.

- Critics continue to push back against the Trump administration's plan to gather and scrutinize American voter data.

At the time, Gessler claimed under oath and before Congress that Colorado had more than 16,000 registered noncitizen voters, and that 5,000 of them had actually cast ballots in the 2010 election. "They should jump in Lake Superior", she said.

And that isn't the only lawsuit against Kobach's voter info request.

Fourteen states and the District of Columbia have refused the request in its entirety. The Commission said it would not use the "SAFE" system to collect personal data.