Things are not looking good for President Trump’s voter fraud commission, also known as the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Chaired by Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the commission is now facing at least seven federal lawsuits from various entities. This comes after 44 states have roundly rejected the request for data pertaining to voters names, addresses, the last four digits of social security numbers, party affiliation, and voter history.
Virginia was one of the first states to reject the request by the commission, with Governor Terry McAuliffe blasting the president over the request for voter data. In a June 29 press release Mcaullife stated, “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.”
The potential for the president’s commission to be used for voter suppression forms the basis of the federal lawsuit filed by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF). Amongst other things the complaint argues, “…the commission was formed with the intent to discriminate against voters of color in violation of the Constitution.” The NAACP legal claim originates with the statements made by the president and various political operatives alluding to the fact that Latino and African American voters are the primary drivers of the alleged voter fraud.
However, last night in an appearance on the Daily Show with Trevor Noah, McAuliffe remained increasingly defiant about the illegitimacy of the president’s claims. When asked early on about the president’s commission by Noah, McAuliffe was quick to respond with, “…which is a fraud, the commission.”
There has been no cases of wide spread voter fraud documented in the U.S. The basis of the commission started with claims made by Trump that millions of illegal votes caused him to lose the popular vote in the November election.
McAuliffe completely rejected this notion in his interview with Noah, “We have no issues at all of voter fraud. This is all because he cannot get the fact that Hillary Clinton actually got 3 million more votes in the general election than he did, plain and simple.” He went on to say, “If you have evidence in Virginia, I’ll act on it immediately…but they’re denying people, they want to make it harder for people to vote.
Some of the other groups which have also filed federal lawsuits against the president’s commission are the Electronic Privacy Center, the ACLU, Lawyer’s Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, Public Citizen, the Florida ACLU, and finally the watchdog group Common Cause. The rationale for the lawsuits varies with some groups claiming that the data request breaches the privacy rights of citizens, while others claim that the commission violates transparency laws.
Regardless of the rationale for these lawsuits, McAuliffe summed up his feelings on the commission by saying, “They’re spending $500,000 of tax payers money and has no authority from Congress, to try and get data.” He concluded with, “The gentleman running this, Mr. Kobach is the poster child for voter suppression in this country.”
Much like many of the president’s other initiatives and executive orders, this one looks destined to face similar challenges both legally and ethically.