On June 28th, Kris Kobach, chairman for the national “Commission on Voter Integrity,” sent a letter to all 50 states requesting a great deal of data about their voters — names, addresses, military history, criminal backgrounds, party affiliation, social security numbers, and voting history since 2006.
And 45 states said, “Nope.” Some even said, “Oh hell, nope.” The Secretary of State in Mississippi said they can go “jump in the Gulf of Mexico,” clarifying that Mississippi is a great launching pad from where they can do it.
These states are not sending that information on. Or at the very least, they’re not sending anything that isn’t already public (like names and addresses). And this is significant. There may be a legal battle to fight their refusal, but this is significant.
This undertaking has the name “Commission on Voter Integrity,” but it’s really a commission on voter fraud. In a tweet the other day, Donald Trump even called it the Voter Fraud Commission. When we hear the words ‘voter fraud,’ they are not only indicative of the foundational lie behind this commission — the false claim that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally in the 2016 election – but they are code words for future voter suppression.
How do we know this? They are already the code words for voter suppression in 22 states.
Kris Kobach has been a major architect of voter suppression in Kansas, and now, he’s in charge of the commission. Read this crucial piece from The New York Times that discusses Kris Kobach’s career; the SAFE Act (Secure and Fair Elections Act), his signature piece of legislation that has faced four different challenges from the A.C.L.U.; his use of Crosscheck to remove voters from rolls; and his likely aims for this commission, including the creation of a national voting registry from which to use Crosscheck again.
This cannot go forward.
We need to stand against it, and we have to work to eliminate the previous laws that have bolstered voter suppression. These laws target minoritized communities, especially African Americans and immigrants, and they lead to policies that harm all of us. Voter suppression is completely undemocratic. It bars the crucial voices of individuals and entire communities, and leads to policies that uphold the interests of the few rather than the vast majority of people who live in this country.
It needs to end.
We need to make it a priority.
We need to make it a fight.
This post is a part of a series on voting rights and voter suppression. If you’d like to read more, feel free to check out these other posts: Voter Suppression: 45 States
Voter Suppression: Hearing From People Directly Affected
Rev. William Barber: 5 Fears that Fuel Voter Suppression
Voter Suppression: 22 States
Voter Suppression: 45 States