After claiming that as many as 5 million people voted illegally in the November election, President Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday to create a commission to address voter fraud. With widespread evidence that voter fraud is nearly nonexistent, voting rights groups have seen similar efforts as a pretense to suppress voting among young voters and minorities.
The announcement of the commission’s leadership team reinforced civil rights groups’ concerns that the panel’s work will be used to justify voter suppression techniques such as voter ID laws and registration purges. The commission’s chair will be Vice President Mike Pence. Last year, as governor of Indiana, Pence cheered the actions of state police and the secretary of state’s office as they shut down a voter major registration drive under the guise of protecting the integrity of the voting process.
Trump’s order instructs the new Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to study “vulnerabilities in voting systems and practices used for Federal elections that could lead to improper voter registrations and improper voting, including fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting.” Election law experts and civil rights groups quickly condemned the record of the commission’s vice chair, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has helped craft anti-immigrant laws, the post-9/11 “Muslim registry,” and voter suppression efforts in his state. (Mother Jones)