Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is done for. It will no longer be a public menace to voters of color with its baseless claims of voter fraud. The announcement of the commission’s end was made on Wednesday and was celebrated by groups like the NAACP and ACLU who had sued the commission repeatedly throughout its eight months of operation. However, the administration does not appear to be abandoning its claims of widespread voter fraud.
On the contrary, the administration appears to be conniving new ways to attack voter rights. In her statement announcing the end of the election integrity commission, Sarah Huckabee Sanders repeated the unfounded claim that there is “substantial evidence of voter fraud” and said that the Department of Homeland Security will be tasked with reviewing the commission’s findings and recommending the “next courses of action.”
Involving DHS in the matter of voting is an especially threatening move. Former co-chair Chris Kobach said in an interview with NPR that DHS is an “immensely valuable” partner in the so-called voter fraud investigation because the agency has databases of every immigrant in the country which can be matched with state voters rolls to help identify those who may be voting illegally.
The formula of cross-checking voter rolls and immigrant databases is blatantly discriminatory. Voters should never be targeted on the basis of immigration status.
This approach is also prone to serious data errors. Because states vary widely in their methods for collecting voter information, minor inconsistencies between datasetscould throw off the results. Another factor is that immigrants often have similar names and there is a high potential for mismatching names and purging people incorrectly.
The Trump administration’s continued obsession with mass voter fraud is continued evidence of the mix of bigotry and ineptitude that will continue to drive policy decisions for the foreseeable future.