Credo Action

Tell Democratic officials: Refuse to serve on Trump’s voter suppression commission

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The petition to Democratic elected officials reads:

“Donald Trump’s ‘Presidential Commission on Election Integrity’ is an extreme right-wing political assault on voting rights and an attempt to suppress the vote at the national level. Refuse to serve on it.”

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    Tell Democratic officials: Refuse to serve on Trump’s voter suppression commission

    Donald Trump just made his move to rig elections for Republicans. He recently announced the creation of a sham commission on ‘election integrity’ led by one of the worst perpetrators of voter suppression in the country, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

    Trump and extremist right-wing Republicans relentlessly perpetuate the myth of voter fraud to cast doubt on the electoral process, reinforce racism, undermine the voting power of communities of color and justify laws that suppress the vote. And it is working – a recent report on the 2016 election indicates that suppression efforts kept 200,000 people from voting in Wisconsin, a state Trump won by less than 23,000 votes.1 Similar suppression in North Carolina, Florida and Ohio helped hand those states to Trump.2 Trump’s voter suppression commission will supercharge those efforts at the national level.

    Trump has stacked his commission with right-wing Republican extremists but, in an effort to give the commission “bipartisan” validity, he has invited Democratic elected officials to join. There is no way that any Democrat should lend legitimacy to Trump’s attempt to assault voting rights and undermine our democracy.

    Tell Democratic officials: Stand up for voting rights and refuse to serve on Trump’s voter suppression commission.

    Kobach is one of Trump’s loudest surrogates promoting the fake problem of voter fraud. He is also notorious for his attempts to keep Kansans from voting. He pushed a harsh voter ID law that requires people to present a birth certificate or passport in order to register to vote. Since it was implemented, it has kept one in seven Kansans from being able register.3 When his efforts to block so-called “motor voter” registrants, including purging 18,000 Kansans from voter rolls, were declared unconstitutional by the courts, he refused to give up.

    Kobach instituted a two-tiered system to let people vote in federal but not state elections, which was also blocked by the courts.4 Republican officials in states across the country have used Kobach’s Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck program to purge tens of thousands of young people and African-American, Latinx and Asian-American voters from the rolls.5

    Kobach is leading the commission with Mike Pence. When Pence was governor of Indiana, his state had some of the lowest voter participation rates in the country, fueled in part by a strict voter ID law and extremely early cut-off times for voter registration.6 We have to make it clear that there can be no collaborating with or normalizing this partisan attempt to suppress the vote and disenfranchise communities of color and low-income communities.

    Tell Democratic officials: Stand up for voting rights and refuse to serve on Trump’s voter suppression commission.

    Two other notorious voter suppressors also sit on the commission. Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson oversaw a massive raid on a voter registration operation focused on African-American voters last year. Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, who served both as secretary of state and as George W. Bush’s re-election chair for Ohio in 2004, used all the tools at his disposal to make it harder for African-Americans and low-income people to vote, an effort seemingly designed to hand the state to Bush.7,8

    The Democratic secretaries of state of Maine and New Hampshire are two of the Democrats who joined Trump's sham commission.9 Maine’s Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has even admitted that the Trump-Pence administration likely selected them to “[add] some gravitas to it.”10

    This is simple. No Democrat should serve on this Trump’s voter suppression commission to rig the elections for Republicans. Period. The more of us who speak up, the greater the pressure on Democratic elected officials to stay off the commission will be.

    Tell Democratic officials: Stand up for voting rights and refuse to serve on Trump’s voter suppression commission.

    Thanks for helping protect the right to vote.

    References:

    1. Ari Berman, "Wisconsin’s voter-ID law suppressed 200,000 votes in 2016 (Trump won by 22,748)," The Nation, May 9, 2017.
    2. Stephen Thrasher, "Trump’s voter fraud commission is a shameless white power grab," The Guardian, May 12, 2017.
    3. Amrit Cheng, "Kris Kobach, the ‘king of voter suppression,’ will lead Trump’s sham voter fraud commission. Be afraid, very afraid." American Civil Liberties Union, May 12, 2017.
    4. Tierney Sneed, "Court blocks Kobach’s scheme for proof-of-citizenship in Kansas elections, Talking Points Memo, Nov. 4, 2016.
    5. Greg Palast, "The GOP's stealth war against voters," Rolling Stone, Aug. 24, 2017.
    6. Robert King, "Was Indiana No. 1 in failing to do our civic duty?" IndyStar, Nov. 12, 2014.
    7. Vanessa Williams, "Group accuses Mike Pence of voter suppression after state police raid registration program in Indiana," The Washington Post, Oct. 15, 2016.
    8. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., "Was the 2004 election stolen?" Common Dreams, June 1, 2006.
    9. Katherine Faulders and Alexander Mallin, "President Trump launches commission on 'election integrity.'" ABC News, May 11, 2017.
    10. Scott Thistle, "Maine’s secretary of state invited to join Trump commission on voter fraud," Portland Press Herald, May 11, 2017.