WH says it chose DHS and not DOJ to investigate voter fraud just because pic.twitter.com/mLJpjlfBrf— Sam Levine (@srl) January 4, 2018
President Donald Trump dissolved his controversial voter fraud commission, stating the demise of the panel was due to resistance from states (instead of the more truthful reason that such a commission was never needed in the first place.)
The move was welcomed by Democrats and voting rights groups. However, the decision was not without strings as the White House revealed the Trump administration was not abandoning its idea of voter fraud — in fact, it was handing it over to the Department of Homeland Security.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who was overseeing the voter fraud commission, said DHS will now take responsibility to identify people illegally on state voter rolls.
He added the department can take data collected by the commission and identify people illegally on the state voter rolls by running the information against an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) database of non-citizens.
The plan is absurd to say the least.
First, the department doesn’t have the expertise to cross-match the commission’s data and identify who is and is not a citizen. Second, the data collected by Trump’s voter fraud commission is not likely to help because it is non-reliable and not comprehensive.
Civil rights groups and experts, who criticized Trump’s voter fraud commission because of its flawed plan, said the new plan also has serious flaws. They also raised fears about the department’s expertise.
The concerns of the critics have been proved right in the past as people were incorrectly identified as non-citizens. In 2012, Florida planned to clean up its voter rolls and in doing so they sought help from DHS. However, it was later revealed and acknowledged by the department itself that the exercise was not reliable to verify voter rolls.
“The use of the immigration databases are inaccurate, discriminatory and inappropriate for voter list maintenance. We know that it results in inaccurate purging of eligible voters,” said Katherine Culliton-González, a lawyer at think tank Demos who represented plaintiffs challenging Florida’s method of striking people from the rolls.
Culliton-González also feared that because the department had the power of deporting people who are living in the United States illegally, the entire process could be quite intimidating.
In just months after coming into effect, the voter fraud commission faced resistance from at least 44 states as they refused to hand over certain types of voter information.
The request of the commission for a massive amount of voter data, including “including birth dates, felony conviction records, voting histories for the past decade and the last four digits of all voters’ Social Security numbers” was rejected by the states. All of that information would've become public information.
The White House in return lashed out and said they were not cooperating.
Moreover, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was also at a loss of words to define the wild goose chase.
When asked by a reporter why the DHS was chosen instead of the Department of Justice she said, “That was the agency that was best determined by the administration. And we’re moving forward and letting them take over the process.”
In 2016 presidential elections, Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by about 2.9 million votes. However, Trump claimed, without evidence, in a tweet that she won the vote because of illegal votes.
According to The New York Times, Trump additionally suggested millions of illegal votes were actually cast by undocumented immigrants (the people he wants to deport and/or incarcerate in large numbers).
However, Trump has no evidence to back up his voter fraud claims. He spent a major part of his election campaign trying to brainwash his supporters about “rigged election” and insisting that the biased system supported his Democratic rival, Clinton.
Banner/Thumbnail: Reuters, Jonathan Ernst