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The Fight to Protect Voting Rights Is Just Beginning

Photo Credit: Rena Schild / Shutterstock

Champions of democracy scored a major feat on Jan. 3 when President Trump disbanded his Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Voting rights advocates had brought large authorised hurdles against the rarely controversial commission, and the press release announcing the commission’s retraction cited the torrent of lawsuit as a reason for the president’s decision.

The seeds of the elect were planted after the 2016 election, when President-elect Donald Trump claimed for the first time that millions of votes were expel illegally. And given then, despite 0 evidence, the boss has steady the explain ad nauseam.

Trump shaped the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity on May 11, 2017, to accumulate “evidence” of this purported voter fraud. The elect drew transparent skepticism, not only for its idea of anticipating that which does not exist, but also given the commission’s allocated clamp authority was Kansas Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach. In Kansas, Kobach championed a law requiring citizenship papers to register to vote, effectively disenfranchising thousands of authorised voters.


Ultimately the elect was cursed to fail, and not just given it had a unsure rollout and stumbled repeatedly, or even given state officials resisted the commission’s requests for personal voter data. By building its case on 3 million self-existent illegal votes, the elect was always going to falter; it was just misleading how quickly. A residence built on lies can't stand. Alongside the voting rights advocates who brought authorised challenges, large citizens protested outward elect meetings, resplendent a indispensable light on the sinful gatherings and contributing to its downfall.

The presidential elect may be left now, but we should not start celebrating just yet. The fight against voter termination is not over. Even as Trump disbanded the commission, Kobach pragmatic that its review into voter rascal would continue and this decision merely represents a “tactical change.”

According to the White House, the Department of Homeland Security will now apparently continue the commission’s work, despite warnings from voting rights advocates that the database DHS competence use to crosscheck citizenship standing could poorly credit naturalized adults of illegally voting. As the Associated Press reports, “Kobach pronounced he intends to work closely with DHS and the White House, and expects the bulk of the DHS review to be finished by midsummer.” Kobach indicated that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (which operates within DHS) will likely play a role in the continued investigation.

There still is opposing information about Kobach’s continued role in any DHS investigation. DHS has refuted future impasse by Kobach and has downplayed its joining to stability the investigation, and a counsel representing the cabinet pronounced collected voter information would not be sent to DHS.

Voting rights advocates sojourn worried. Michael McDonald of the United States Elections Project tells us, “Kobach has finished it transparent he intends to run a secret voter rascal review within Department of Homeland Security.” McDonald predicts, however, that a DHS review would likely prompt some-more lawsuits—a materialisation that Kobach knows all too good at this point.

It was transparent that Kobach was using the elect to try to set up a inhabitant complement much like his deeply flawed—and nonsecure—Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program, a data-sharing agreement among 30 states to review voter rolls and dwindle anyone purebred in mixed states who competence be voting illegally. The commission’s disbanding competence have averted a inhabitant program, but the stream state-level Interstate Crosscheck stays problematic. While the Crosscheck program competence seem harmless and logical, a statistical research finished in 2017 found that for every double opinion that the program would successfully catch, 300 current adults would be purged from the voter rolls.

Other threats to voting rights also direct the attention. For one, the effects of state legislation that suppresses voting are still being felt. Voter ID laws opposite the country, for example, are preventing large authorised adults from going to the polls.

In addition, prior voting rights successes must be protected. Early on, elections consultant and University of California Irvine law highbrow Richard Hasen said the commission was likely a disguise for gutting the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, some-more popularly famous as the “Motor Voter” law, which—when scrupulously enforced—has been successful at induction voters. Even with the disbanding of the commission, post-commission attempts to criticise the Motor Voter law could be on the horizon.

Regardless of what happens next, all this fibbing about voter rascal has already caused genuine damage. A new check shows that 59 percent of purebred voters are endangered about voter fraud having taken place in the 2016 election, despite there being no justification of the sort. And while the elect was close down prematurely, it was successful in scaring tools of the American adults into disengaging from politics. Thousands of people deregistered to vote after Kobach requested supportive voter information, likely shaken that their registration information would be improperly used.

To fight whatever Kobach and his voter termination allies do next, therefore, it is obligatory on voting rights advocates that we make transparent that claims of voter rascal are zero but lies to incite dread of the firmness of the elections. Most importantly, we need to fight for pro-democracy policies, such as involuntary voter registration, same-day voter registration, and early voting.

The disaster of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity teaches us that when adults step up and fight for democracy, they win. This feat should embolden us to be ever braver and some-more bold when we confront the next sham bid to criticise American democracy.

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