As the Trump administration looks to clamp down on widespread reports of voter fraud and abuse, some mainly liberal states are pushing back — fearing that Trump is launching a “voter suppression” commission.
Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity has asked the states to hand over data from their voter rolls. According to Axios, that includes voter information regarding felony convictions, military status, and voter history. They have set a deadline for the middle of July.
However, the outlet reports that the commission is getting pushback from mainly liberal states such as California, Virginia, Connecticut, and Vermont — with some refusing to comply altogether and others handing over what is publicly available. However, some red states, such as Oklahoma and Kentucky (which has a Democratic secretary of state), have also pushed back against the effort.
Trump has frequently highlighted alleged cases of voter fraud and has even claimed that he would have won the popular vote in the 2016 election if the number of illegally cast votes was discounted. In May he signed an executive order setting up the commission to investigate those reports.
However, the states objecting have said they won’t comply if they believe the effort is more likely to produce voter suppression rather than the stated goal of election integrity.
California’s Secretary of State, Alex Padilla, objected in part to anti-immigration hardliner and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s appointment as vice chair of the commission.
Secretary Padilla's response to the Election Commission's request for personal data of CA voters: pic.twitter.com/UdUt55HSim
— CA SOS Vote (@CASOSvote) June 29, 2017
His role as vice chair is proof that the ultimate goal of this commission is to enact policies that will result in the disenfranchisement of American citizens,” he said.
“This entire commission is based on the specious and false notion that there was widespread voter fraud last November,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a close Clinton ally, said in a statement. “At best this commission was set up as a pretext to validate Donald Trump’s alternative election facts, and at worst is a tool to commit large-scale voter suppression.”
It is not clear how such a commission could be used to commit voter suppression. States such as Alabama, Missouri, and Kansas have said they would provide the information, Axios reported.
Groups that highlight alleged cases of voter fraud referred to McAuliffe’s statement as “posturing.”
“McAuliffe’s posturing should surprise no one. Every time someone takes a good look at Virginia’s voter roll, they find evidence of election crimes that his policies inspired,” Logan Churchwell, spokesman for the Public Interest Legal Foundation, an election integrity group, told The Washington Free Beacon.
Adam Shaw is a politics reporter for Breitbart News based in New York. Follow Adam on Twitter: @AdamShawNY
This post has been updated.