Emboldened both by President Donald Trump’s claim that millions of noncitizens voted in 2016 and by his creation of a panel to investigate the alleged fraud, lawmakers in several states want to require people registering to vote to provide proof of their citizenship – even though federal registration forms don’t require it. This year at least four states – Kansas, Maryland, Texas and Virginia – considered proof of citizenship measures, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. That means residents must provide documentation such as a passport or birth certificate when registering to vote.
Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap is increasing the pressure on President Trump’s election fraud commission to release documents he says have been withheld from him. Dunlap, who is a member of the president’s commission, announced Thursday that he has asked a federal court for an injunction in his request that is designed to force the commission to share records and meeting materials. If granted, the injunction would shorten the timeframe for the commission to respond to his complaint from two months to one week.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio’s executive director spoke to a crowd of nearly 100 students, faculty and community members Tuesday about voter suppression in America and Ohio, as well as Ohio University’s controversial “Freedom of Expression” policy. J. Bennett Guess, executive director of the ACLU of Ohio, said during the talk at the Athena Cinema that Ohio Secretary of State John Husted has been engaged actively in purging people from the voter rolls in Ohio, an effort that Guess contends disproportionately impacts economically disadvantaged people of color (who typically vote Democratic).
After over two months of silence, there was a blip of activity from President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission this week when a commissioner sent an email requesting information on voter fraud prosecutions by the Department of Justice and suggested the agency was not pursuing those types of cases vigorously enough. J. Christian Adams, a commissioner and former DOJ official, sent an email to Andrew Kossack, a federal official charged with the panel’s administration, and copied all of the other commissioners Monday. He asked that Kossack request an annual public report from DOJ on election crimes as well as voter fraud cases the department has pursued over the last decade.
How bogus is President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission? One of the group’s own members, Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, has filed a lawsuit to get more information about what the panel is doing since no one is telling him, or other Democratic members. It is one of many lawsuits filed against the President’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. In his lawsuit, Dunlap contends that the commission is violating the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which seeks to prevent groups like the election advisory commission from being used to advance partisan objectives under the guises of a balanced review. The act says that the membership of advisory committees must be “fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented.” In addition, commission materials must be available to all members. Dunlap’s suit alleges that only some commission members are preparing materials and then those materials are not shared with the entire commission, which includes seven Republicans and four Democrats. Materials, which Dunlap and other commission members have not previously seen, have been presented at commission meetings, where it is clear that other members have participated in writing them.
On Tuesday, Nov. 7, Election Protection, the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter-protection coalition, led by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, provided live assistance to more than 1,000 voters through its 866-OUR-VOTE hotline. Voters reported complaints, some of which impacted systemic problems, or sought assistance with voting. Since 2001, Election Protection has been the go-to source for voters seeking assistance with navigating the voting process. The volume of calls into the hotline suggested increases in voter turnout relative to comparable election periods from years prior and expanded interest in local electoral contests such as district attorney races. The Lawyers’ Committee led-effort identified a number of problems including robo calls imparting false information to voters; poll workers providing false information regarding voter eligibility; police presence outside of polling sites, the proliferation of false information regarding the voting process on social media, and other deceptive and suppressive tactics as reported by voters around the country.
The recent death of one member, the child pornography arrest of a key staffer and a blizzard of lawsuits have paralyzed the work of the federal Election Integrity Commission, according to Secretary of State Bill Gardner, who serves on the controversial panel. “There is so much inertia because the powers that be worry about whether there will be a lawsuit in response to whatever we do,” Gardner said during a telephone interview. “They have really tied this commission up pretty well with all the different lawsuits in all kinds of different directions.” But Gardner, a Democrat, said he’s got no evidence to confirm fellow member and Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap’s claims that some on the commission have been communicating only among themselves.
Editorials: Dunlap can sue, but election commission was always a sham | Cynthia Dill/Portland Press Herald
The federal lawsuit brought by Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap demanding prompt communication from and meaningful participation on the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity – which is studying nothing, in order to give advice to President Trump, who will ignore it – expends a lot of taxpayer money and judicial resources, but at least it’s deductible. “Voter fraud” is not a real thing, but like a Pet Rock it has become a commercial success. The political issue harkens back to Jim Crow-era literacy tests and poll taxes, but the latest voter-suppression push is relatively recent. Republicans work to disenfranchise an important chunk of the Democratic voting base – minorities and young and low-income people – by making it harder for them to vote. They do this by passing laws that restrict voting registration times and polling places and require government-sponsored identification, among other means.
National: Trump fraud commission sued by one of its own members, alleging Democrats are being kept in the dark | The Washington Post
President Trump’s voter fraud commission was sued Thursday morning by one of its Democratic members, who alleged that he has been kept in the dark about its operations, rendering his participation “essentially meaningless.” Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said in a complaint filed in federal court that the 11-member panel is in violation of a federal law that requires presidential advisory commissions to be both balanced and transparent in their work. “The Commission has, in effect, not been balanced because Secretary Dunlap and the other Democratic commissioners have been excluded from the Commission’s work,” says the complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia. “The Commission’s operations have not been open and transparent, not even to the commissioners themselves, who have been deprived access to documents prepared by and viewed by other commissioners.”
Maine: Secretary of State, a member of Trump fraud commission, sues panel for information about its work | Portland Press Herald
Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has filed a federal lawsuit against President Trump’s voter fraud commission in an effort to obtain information and correspondence about the commission’s work. Dunlap, one of four Democrats on the 11-member Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, filed the lawsuit Thursday in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, more than three weeks after requesting the information. Despite the fact that he is a member of the commission, Dunlap says he has been kept in the dark about what it is doing. The lawsuit alleges that the commission’s chairman, Vice President Mike Pence, and vice chairman, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, are in violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, which prohibits the body from excluding commissioners from deliberations and information. The Executive Office of the President is also a named defendant, as the office is staffing the commission and maintaining its records. “Since the Sept. 12 meeting, I have received no correspondence from the commission other than to acknowledge receipt of my information request” of October 17, Dunlap said in a prepared statement. “Clearly, there is information about this commission being created and discussed, but I have no access to that information and it has not been provided upon request.”