In yet another rookie move, the Chumph set up a politically motivated commission to investigate Voter Fraud, and was either too stupid or incompetent to understand the existing Constitutional issues at the state and federal level.
In a rare display of bipartisanship, officials in nearly every state have said they will partially or fully refuse to comply with President Trump’s voting commission, which has encountered criticism and opposition after issuing a sweeping request for voter data nationwide.
Even as some of the resistance centers on Trump and members of his commission, the broader responses from the states indicate a strong and widespread belief that local officials should be managing elections and that the White House’s request for volumes of information went too far.
“What it says is some Republicans actually still believe in federalism and that our constitution still governs the way states hold their elections,” still Rick Wilson, a longtime GOP strategist and frequent Trump critic, who called the resistance by Republican state-level officials “commendable.” He also pointed to the commission’s origins in Trump’s repeated — and unsubstantiated — claims that voter fraud is widespread and cost him the popular vote last year.
“If Trump’s theory is correct, that means these states allowed voter fraud to occur,” Wilson said. “By definition, it will have to include a bunch of Republican states, and they don’t like that. … Most elections in the states are run beautifully.”
The resistance has swept across red and blue states alike, drawing in Democratic critics of the president and Republicans uneasy about a broad federal request they suggest intrudes on states’ rights. It also casts a continued shadow over a probe Trump said could lead officials to “strengthen up voting procedures.”
In his executive order, Trump said the group would issue a report identifying “vulnerabilities … that could lead to improper voter registrations and improper voting.” Experts and voting rights advocates called the group a “sham,” saying they fear it will lead to increased voting restrictions. It is unclear what the pushback against the recent requests could mean for the panel’s ultimate report, expected in 2018.
This unease has been notable for expanding beyond Democratic critics of the president and including Republicans such as Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan, who called the commission’s request a “hastily organized experiment,” and Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, who described it as “federal intrusion and overreach.”
At least 44 states have said they will provide just some or none of the requested information, according to interviews, public statements and media accounts. Officials with several other states have said they are still awaiting a formal letter from the commission before responding, while others have not elaborated on what they plan to provide.
Many states plan to hand over publicly available information, while others are outright refusing to participate. Experts say that partial responses could lead to further problems, because the commission could ultimately assemble disparate — and incomplete — information in an effort to draw a national picture.
“There’s gonna be a whole problem of uniformity and consistency that could create a lot of problems, even with the compiling of publicly available data,” said Vanita Gupta, former head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division during the Obama administration. “It’s hugely problematic to do this kind of thing and to do it with at least no explicit regard for existing privacy laws and concerns and no explicit mention of how this data will be used.”
The commission’s request also has been targeted by a lawsuit filed in federal court this week. In a complaint filed Monday, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a Washington-based nonprofit focusing on privacy and civil liberties issues, asked a federal court to prevent the commission from collecting state voter roll data. Kobach’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the lawsuit Wednesday.
The backlash has pushed the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity into public discussion for the first time since Trump started it last month, naming Vice President Pence as the chair and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), a leading conservative voice on concerns about voter fraud, as vice-chair.
Trump formed the commission after repeatedly suggesting that voter fraudcost him the popular vote against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton last year. Studies and state officials of both parties have found no evidence of widespread voting fraud.
Last week, the commission took its first public step by sending letters to all 50 states asking for a wide swath of information, “including, if publicly available under the laws of your state,” names, dates of birth, addresses and political parties of voters, along with the last four digits of Social Security numbers, if available. The commission also asked officials to offer recommendations for changing federal election law, a list of convictions for election-related crimes, evidence of voter fraud and several other things, all due by July 14.