It’s an understatement to say the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity’s request to every state for highly-sensitive personal information on every U.S. voter is raising major concerns among leaders in almost every state. … Dozens of states, from deeply blue to deeply red to everything in between, either refused to provide any personal data on voters, or agreed only to provide the minimum of what the law in their state required (usually just name, address and political party information). Incredibly, even secretaries of state that serve on this commission, including Secretaries Lawson of Indiana, Dunlap of Maine, and Gardner of New Hampshire, and Secretary Kobach himself, have refused to turn over all the information requested. And for good reason. … [A]ll these taxpayer resources are being spent to research a question to which we already know the answer – the extent to which voter fraud exists. On this point, every piece of research conducted by states both red and blue, academics, and even the Bush Department of Justice, agrees – voter fraud exists but only barely. It is extremely rare, comprising only thousandths of a percent of the total ballots cast.
Which begs the question– why is the federal government marshaling considerable taxpayer resources to collect data it shouldn’t have, to reach a conclusion it cannot possibly reach, to prove something we already know isn’t true? Sadly, the answer may have been provided by the president himself last week, when he tweeted that the commission was actually a “voter fraud panel.” This traces back to the President’s entirely unsubstantiated claims post-election that he “won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.” The White House cited a Pew report to justify his claims – a report which says absolutely nothing about voter fraud. I should know – I authored that report. Perhaps some of the commissioners themselves are wondering what they’ve gotten themselves into, as one of the Republican members of the commission resigned Monday, before the commission had even met.
So as we celebrate our nation’s birthday this week, the president of the United States is squandering taxpayer resources putting Americans’ personal data at risk to rationalize a statement everyone knows is false. Meanwhile, we face a real risk to our democracy– the continuing and increasing cyber attacks on our election infrastructure from Russia and other foreign adversaries.