WASHINGTON, D.C. – President Trump on Wednesday issued an Executive Order dissolving the ill-conceived Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The President’s action was the result of the transparency forced on the Commission by litigation brought by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and other organizations, which revealed that the Commission was not undertaking an objective inquiry, but rather attempting to reach a pre-determined and wrong-headed conclusion that widespread voter fraud existed, so as to justify the passage of voter suppressive laws. While the Lawyers’ Committee applauds the demise of the Commission, it is concerned that the President’s attempt to transfer the effort to the Department of Homeland Security will lead to the same unlawful and unconstitutional result.
“The Department of Homeland Security was created with the primary purpose of protecting this country from the real threat of terrorist attacks, not to waste its resource on chasing the unicorn of voter fraud,” said Kristen Clarke, President and Executive Director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “It is one thing for DHS to use its resources to ensure that foreign governments are not interfering with our elections. It is quite another thing for that agency to divert its attention to the pursuit of discredited theories of widespread voter fraud, with the intent of stopping eligible voters – disproportionately minority voters – from voting. We will continue to scrutinize this administration’s continued assault on the right to vote.”
On Thursday morning, the President coupled his dissolution of the Commission with a series of tweets aimed at propagating the myth of voter fraud. His allegation that certain states refused to provide confidential voter data requested by the Commission because states “know many people are voting illegally” is false.
“Contrary to the President’s claim, there is absolutely no proof that ‘many people’ are voting illegally in our elections,” Clarke said. “The reality is that the United States, shamefully, has one of the lowest voter participation and turnout rates among modern democracies across the globe. To use these lies so cavalierly, as the President does, to promote widespread use of burdensome and strict voter ID laws that have been shown to have a disproportionate impact on the rights of minority voters is both immoral and unjust. We urge states to reject the President’s attempt to promote voter suppression and we remain fully prepared to sue states that unlawfully impair the rights of minority voters.”