From the outset, voting rights advocates warned that President Trump’s creation of a shady “elections integrity”commission would be used as cover for his bogus claims that 3-5 million people voted illegally and exacerbate overblown allegations for voter fraud.Trump himself removed any remaining doubt about the commission’s true purpose over the July 4 holiday weekend when he called it the “VOTER FRAUD PANEL.” … “It’s even worse than what I thought it would be in terms of commission’s composition and the job it’s going to do,” Rick Hasen, the UC-Irvine Law School professor who runs “Election Law blog,” told TPM Friday. “It really seems like they’re not even trying to give the veneer of bipartisanship or a serious effort.”
… A letter to all 50 states requesting that they hand over voter data—ranging from date of birth and address to military status and party ID—has provoked a firestorm of criticism and reinforced predictions that the commission, which is being vice chaired by Kansas of Secretary of State Kris Kobach, will be about pushing voting restrictions.
“The commission seems, from all external appearance, it seems to be attempting to find a fig leaf to put on conclusions it already arrived at,” said Justin Levitt, a top DOJ voting rights attorney under President Obama who now is a professor at Loyola Law School.
The problems elections experts have with the request are aplenty. From a logistical standpoint it’s extremely impractical to expect state elections officials to turn over such a broad swath of personal voter data in just two weeks, said the Brennan Center’s Myrna Perez, and from a legal perspective, the request is problematic.
“Even though this information is available for public inspection, states have made differing choices about how to balance the sharing of information to promote political mobilization and people’s privacy and this completely upends that,” Perez told TPM.