From the time he was a presidential candidate, Donald Trump has made unproven claims of widespread voter fraud happening throughout the nation. Now as president, Trump has assembled the inauthentic Presidential Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity to investigate voter registration and voter fraud.
This partisan Commission has been formed on false pretenses: 3 to 5 million people did not vote illegally in the last presidential election, as the president believes, and a true bi-partisan Commission requires careful analysis and expertise.
Were this Commission truly working in the interest of making our elections as error-free and our voter rolls as clean as possible, the focus would be on the following:
- Bringing every state on-board with the Electronic Registration Information Center (ERIC) -- a nationwide network of states, which includes Illinois, that securely shares voter registration data – so that voter information nationwide would be accurate and up-to-date.
- Updating our nation’s election infrastructure – the machines voters use to cast their ballots – which in many election jurisdictions are a decade or more old and are being held together with replacement parts often purchased on eBay.
- Pushing all states toward Automatic Voter Registration – a good government tool to help clean voter rolls across the nation.
Instead, the President’s Commission has told state election authorities to hand over information including the names, addresses, birth dates and party affiliations of registered voters in each state. The Commission also wants a record of felony convictions, military statuses, the last four digits of Social Security numbers and voting records dating back to 2006.
I’m happy to see that so far, election authorities in more than 40 states – including Kris Kobach’s own Kansas Secretary of State office – have rejected the Commission’s request for this information, and I urge the Illinois Board of Elections to stand up against this unnecessary overreach.
Voting is a fundamental right. Unfortunately, instead of a genuinely bipartisan group dedicated to protecting the vote, President Trump has stacked the deck of his Commission with a number of lawmakers who have shown an inclination towards voter suppression.
Furthermore, this comes at a time when Republicans have sought to defund the Election Assistance Commission, a truly bi-partisan Commission.
I strongly encourage the Illinois Board of Elections, as well as my fellow elections administrators, to be cautious of the motives of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity and not comply with this dangerous request.
Cook County Clerk