Donald Trump’s “Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity” is demanding that each state give the administration the personal information about every registered voter. At least twenty-for states so far have pushed back, saying they either cannot or will not turn over the data.
Trump started his voter fraud commission last month, an effort to pursue his own unsubstantiated claims that voter fraud is rampant and cost him the popular vote in the presidential election, according to the Washington Post. The White House has said the commission will embark upon a “thorough review of registration and voting issues in federal elections,” but election researchers—not to mention voting rights advocates—say that Trump’s claim of widespread voter fraud is a lie. They fear the commission will be used to restrict voting.
The commission is asking for a massive amount of information, including names, dates of birth, voting histories, and party identifications. The letters also asked for evidence of voter fraud, convictions for election-related crimes, and recommendations for preventing voter intimidation—all within sixteen days.
Half the states in this country have already responded with a steadfast NO. We expect more to follow this coming week. And of course Donald Trump is fit to be tied, stamping his little feet and clenching his little fists. On Friday the president tweeted,
Numerous states are refusing to give information to the very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL. What are they trying to hide?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2017
To which Jason Kander, CNN contributor and president of LetAmericaVote, tweeted:
President who won’t release his tax returns wants to publish every registered voter’s social security number, DOB, and party affiliation. https://t.co/0nylQdRskC
— Jason Kander (@JasonKander) July 1, 2017
Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said, “At best this commission was set up as a pretext to validate Donald Trump’s alternative election facts, and at worst is a tool to commit large-scale voter suppression.”
In addition, election data experts—notably lacking on this commission—know that simply comparing large lists of voters will not provide useful information because of the number of false matches. As CNN notes, the well-known “Birthday Problem” shows that it is somewhat likely that two people with the same common name—say, John Smith—will also share a birthday. The fact that two different state voter rolls might list this same name is not evidence of voter fraud.
What do you think?
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