President Donald Trump and Kris Kobach’s voter fraud commission is a stain on our democracy. It is already harming voters by reducing the registration rolls. Two weeks ago, the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity asked election officials in all 50 states to turn over detailed voter information. Now, in response, voters in some states — such as Colorado, Florida and North Carolina — are seeking to “unregister,” asking their states to remove them from voter rolls before any information is sent to the commission. As Denver elections director Amber McReynolds lamented, “I never expected to see more withdrawals in a day than new registrations. The impact on voters is real. The impact on civic engagement is real. The impact on election offices is real.”
This is bad for our elections — although it’s undoubtedly the kind of response Trump and Kobach, the commission’s vice chairman, were hoping for. It seems clear that the true, unstated goal of the commission is not to make it easier to vote or improve our election system but instead to use the veneer of voter fraud concerns to justify stricter election laws.
Trump could well try to use supposed “findings” that voter registration rolls are bloated (including, for example, with people who have died or moved, which has little to do with fraud) to argue for the repeal of the National Voter Registration Act, also known as Motor Voter, which makes it easier to register to vote and imposes limits on states purging their lists.
Now some voters are doing that work for Trump and his commission. But giving up the ability to vote against him is not the way to protest Trump’s actions.