Washington, D.C. — Today, President Donald Trump is expected to sign an executive order establishing a commission to investigate American voters, though there is no evidence for claims of significant illegal voting. The commission would be chaired by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R). This announcement follows months of dog-whistle politics, alternative facts, and multiple attempts to undermine the state of American democracy from this administration. Liz Kennedy, Director of Democracy and Government Reform at the Center for American Progress, issued the following statement reacting to the news.
The integrity of the nation’s elections depends on every eligible American being able to cast a ballot that is counted. Any Trump administration voter investigation that grows out of the president’s blatant, easily disproved lies about millions of illegal voters is a false start and a threat to American democracy. The federal government should be reinvesting in the infrastructure of American democracy with modernized voter equipment and voter registration procedures, such as automatic voter registration. Launching an investigation into American voters while attempting to shut down the investigation into Russian interference in the U.S. election and his campaign’s collusion in that attack reeks of attempted misdirection. If he was truly interested in protecting the integrity of America’s elections, President Trump would order an immediate independent investigation into Russian intrusion and ask the Department of Justice to establish a special prosecutor.
Danyelle Solomon, Director of Progress 2050 at CAP, added:
Once again, the Trump administration has relied on alternative facts and dog whistles to undermine the bedrock of our democracy and scare Americans unnecessarily. There is no evidence of rampant illegal voting in America. Instead, there is a significant and well-documented problem with voter suppression—especially for people of color, young people, and low-income individuals. In October 2016, state police in then-Gov. Mike Pence’s state of Indiana raided an Indianapolis office of a group responsible for registering voters one week before the state’s voter registration deadline. The raid and subsequent investigation were expected to affect the voter registrations of 45,000 people, most of them African Americans. This announcement, coupled with the appointment of Kobach as chair—one of the most notorious anti-immigrant advocates and proponents of virulent voter suppression—only ensures the American people will see policy recommendations that again attempt to suppress voter access and target the most vulnerable in American communities.