The latest news and updates on the ongoing struggle to protect the right to vote and make it easier for every American to be heard at the ballot box.
A new law forbids District elections officials from complying with Trump’s voter-fraud investigation.
Trump’s election commission has been a disaster. It’s going exactly as planned.
Holly Ramer and Kevin Freking of the Associated Press write:
President Donald Trump’s commission on election fraud is telling states to hold off on providing detailed voter information in the face of increasing legal challenges.
The commission had given states until July 14 to provide data including names, birth dates and partial Social Security numbers, but in an email Monday, the panel’s designated officer told states to hold off until a judge rules on a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington.
In its initial filings in that case, the commission said it planned to collect the data via a Department of Defense file exchange program.
Forty-eight states have refused to fully comply with the commission’s request for voter data, but the order has already sown chaos at state election offices.
Michael Wines writes in the New York Times:
Still smarting from a backlash by state election officials, the White House panel investigating claims of voter fraud and other irregularities was hit with a salvo of lawsuits on Monday that accused it of violating federal privacy laws and illegally operating in secret.
Three lawsuits, filed separately by civil rights groups, underscored the depth of opposition by the Trump administration’s critics to the panel, the Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, even before it formally meets.
In Slate, Mark Joseph Stern interviews voting rights expert Michael McDonald:
Mark Joseph Stern: Why did Kobach request data in the first place?
Michael McDonald: Kobach’s data request was overly broad: It asked for data that some states cannot provide to the federal government by law.
Marina Fang writes for Huffington Post:
The American Civil Liberties Union is challenging the Trump administration’s commission that intends to investigate voter fraud.
The group on Monday filed a lawsuit accusing the commission of violating a federal transparency law because it has said its first publicly announced meeting, scheduled for July 19, will only available to the public via a video livestream.
“The commission held its first meeting without notice or making it open to the public.
Tierney Sneed writes for TPM:
The voting rights community isn’t holding its breath for a “report” expected out of President Trump’s sham election commission that advocates predict will be used as a cudgel for restrictive voting laws. They already have a good idea of how the Trump administration, led by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, will seek to scale back access to the ballot with an approach that has its antecedent in the scandal-plagued Justice Department of George W.
From the New York Times:
The political uproar over a White House commission’s request to state election officials for a trove of personal data on the nation’s voters continued as secretaries of state gathered for their annual meeting on Friday in Indianapolis.
The panel was set up to investigate claims of voter fraud, which experts generally agree is rare, after President Trump claimed illegal voting had cost him the popular vote in November’s election, and it has come under attack by election officials from both parties.
As of Thursday evening, 20 states and the District of Columbia had outright rejected the request by Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state and vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, according to the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, which works to promote expanded access to the ballot.
The suit seeks a temporary restraining order mandating the production of records before the July 19thmeeting, blocking the July 19th meeting until the Commission fulfills its obligations to disclose its documents, and ordering that all commission meetings be open to the public.
“Federal law demands that the President’s Commissions operate in an open and transparent manner. That principle is of paramount importance when, as here, the Commission seeks to impact the fundamental right to vote. We are proud to stand with the Lawyers’ Committee in this fight,” said Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer partner John A. Freedman.