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The Trump Era

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Non-citizens Found at Jury Duty after Court Uses Voter Roll for Pool

July 21st 2017

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President Trump formed the 12-member White House Commission on Electoral Integrity, which is headed by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, after repeatedly claiming that millions of people voted fraudulently during the 2016 general election. It met on Wednesday, hearing from Pence that the commission “has no preconceived notions or preordained results.” The commission has heard from 30 states who intend to comply with the commission’s earlier request to provide information about registered voters, including what elections they have voted in and whether they have been convicted of a crime.

Several states, including California and Mississippi, have refused to comply with the request, citing concerns over voters’ privacy. 

Kobach defended the commission’s request for voter information from every state, citing his own state’s 128 cases of alleged voter fraud as a major concern. “The commission is not set up to prove or disprove President Trump’s claim,” Kobach told CNN on Wednesday before the commission’s first meeting. “This commission is going to be looking at real figures, real numbers, real voter rolls and real cases.”

Corrupted voter rolls and jury lists

Commission member Hans von Spakovsky,a legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation and former Justice Department attorney, said that the commission should inquire about data from federal court clerks about people who have been called for jury duty yet were excused because they were non-citizens. The jury duty lists are taken from voter registration lists. The federal Government Accountability Office discovered in 2005 that in one federal district court alone, up to 3 percent of the 30,000 people called in for jury duty were non-citizens. He also said during his opening remarks at the Wednesday meeting that he had a database of 1,100 proven cases of voter fraud.

Von Spakovsky wants the Department of Homeland Security to release information it has about applicants for American citizenship who have marked on their application that they have voted or registered to vote. Kobach agreed with him, while suggesting that the commission’s staff should obtain it. He said, “We know we have problems with the accuracy of our voter registration lists. Numerous studies have been done about this that show—including the Interstate Crosscheck Program—that we have literally hundreds of thousands of voters who are registered in multiple states, and we have many people who are deceased remaining on the voter rolls.”

Additionally, during his opening remarks, Von Spakovsky said, “No systematic, all-encompassing study has been done about these problems. But we know that more must be done to improve the accuracy of our voter registration system and the security of our voting process.” Von Spakovsky denounced what he called “unfair, unjust, and unwarranted criticisms that have been leveled at this commission and some of its members,” which he said are a “tactic, frankly, to avoid a substantive debate on important issues and to prevent the research, inquiry, and study that is necessary to identify the problems in our election process, to determine what the solutions are, and to therefore ensure that we have the best election and best democratic system in the world.”

Trump: 'Protect the integrity of the vote and voters'

The commission will identify threats to voting integrity and then deliver recommendations to the president, and will have four more meetings in the next nine months. “We have no choice. If we want to make America great again, we have to protect the integrity of the vote and our voters,” Trump said during an appearance at the commission's first meeting. “I look forward to the findings and recommendations your report will produce, and I share your report as soon as I can and as soon as possible with the American people so the full truth will be known and exposed, if necessary, in the light of day.”

Kobach said non-citizens who vote can sway election outcomes, especially in smaller counties. He juxtaposed his argument with a February 2012 Pew study that conservatively estimated that there were 1.8 million deceased registered voters and said that his data request could generate actual numbers instead of just an approximation.

However, the publicly available information that he is now requesting – straying from the original request that included social security numbers – cannot generate the findings he is currently looking for.

Since the commission’s early July data request, 44 states and Washington, D.C. all publicly said they would not hand over all or some of their constituents’ information. However, while they might not simply hand over the intelligence, many states have rules that allow any person or entity to buy publicly available voter information.

“The reason you need that information is to do things like if someone comes before the commission and says 100 people voted in this state in this election year, and we believe they were deceased at the time the ballots were cast, we can look at the voter rolls and say those people were not actually registered at the time,” Kobach said. “The commission is simply to put facts on the table.”California says that nearly 78 percent of its eligible residents are registered to vote, but election fraud watchdog Linda Paine insists the figure is significantly higher.Kobach said non-citizens who vote can sway election outcomes, especially in smaller counties. He juxtaposed his argument with a February 2012 Pew study that conservatively estimated that there were 1.8 million deceased registered voters and said that his data request could generate actual numbers instead of just an approximation.

However, the publicly available information that he is now requesting – straying from the original request that included social security numbers – cannot generate the findings he is currently looking for.

Since the commission’s early July data request, 44 states and Washington, D.C. all publicly said they would not hand over all or some of their constituents’ information. However, while they might not simply hand over the intelligence, many states have rules that allow any person or entity to buy publicly available voter information.

Other evidence of possible fraud was offered by the Election Integrity Project, a California watchdog group that released a report in June that challenged the state government’s claim that nearly 78 percent of its eligible residents are registered to vote. In its report, the watchdog group found that when inactive voters are factored in, an unrealistic 98 percent of eligible Californians are actually registered. When these are combined with the estimated 5 million inactive registrants (dead or out of state) with California’s lack of a voter-identification requirement, Linda Paine of the Election Integrity Project said that the system is ripe for scammers seeking to cast illegal ballots. She said that California’s inadequate voter list maintenance makes for misleading statistics and puts the system at risk for voter fraud.

In addition, the 2010 Pew Center on the States study found that as many as 24 million, or 1 in 8, voter registrations were no longer valid or were “significantly inaccurate.” It calculated 1.8 million deceased voters were on the roll, as well as 2.75 million people registered in more than one state.

Judicial Watch threatens lawsuit against 11 states

The Judicial Watch organization has sent notice-of-violation letters threatening to sue 11 states having counties in which the number of registered voters exceeds the number of voting-age citizens, as calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011-2015 American Community Survey. The watchdog group says in its letters, this is “strong circumstantial evidence that these … counties are not conducting reasonable voter registration record maintenance as mandated under the [National Voter Registration Act] NVRA.” Both the NVRA and the federal Help America Vote Act require states to take reasonable steps to maintain accurate voting rolls.

The 11 states are: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Tennessee. The states have 90 days after receiving the letters to address the problem and provide Judicial Watch documentation showing that they have conducted a “statewide effort to conduct a program that reasonably ensures the lists of eligible voters are accurate.” Judicial Watch informed the states that should they fail to take action to correct violations of Section 8 of the NVRA, it would file suit.

Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act requires states to make a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters from official lists due to “the death of the registrant” or “a change in the residence of the registrant,” and requires states to ensure noncitizens are not registered to vote.


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