“We will not go back to a time when millions of people… were silenced through disenfranchisement.”
Democratic lawmakers in both chambers of Congress introduced a bill Wednesday that would cut off funding for the White House’s voter fraud commission, claiming that “even one taxpayer dollar spent on this circus would be a waste of resources.”
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA), Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-NM), and Rep. Judy Chu (D-CA) unveiled the Anti-Voter Suppression Act exactly one week before the “Voting Integrity Commission” is set to hold its first meeting. The bill would “repeal President Trump’s executive order establishing the commission and prohibit any funds from being used to investigate the non-issue of voter fraud,” according to Richmond.
Acknowledging the legislation is unlikely to pass in a Republican-controlled Congress, the Democrats claim it still represents another opportunity to raise concerns about commission’s end goal of voter suppression.
“We will not go back to a time when millions of people — most of them poor and minorities — were silenced through disenfranchisement,” Booker said in a statement. “Yet that is exactly what President Trump seems to want to do with this sham of a commission.”
Trump signed an executive order establishing the commission in May, stating that the goal was to find vulnerabilities in election systems that could allow for “fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting.” Voting rights advocates immediately sounded the alarms, saying the administration was “laying the groundwork for voter suppression.”
But the sources of criticism have become wider than just voting advocates. After vice chair Kris Kobach requested a massive amount of personal voter information from each state, a number of Republican election chiefs spoke out against the effort.
Louisiana’s Republican Secretary of State Tom Schedler told Kobach that he’s “not going to play politics with Louisiana’s voter data.” And the Republican who runs elections in Mississippi had even harsher words. “They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico, and Mississippi is a great state to launch from,” Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann (R) said.
While the criticism on the state level has been largely bipartisan, Republicans in Congress have yet to speak out against the Trump administration’s mission to weed out voter fraud, which studies repeatedly show is virtually non-existent.
So Democratic lawmakers — co-sponsors on the bill total 92 Democrats in both chambers of Congress — are speaking out without their GOP colleagues. Richmond, chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, warned that the commission and Congress are systematically working to chip away at the Voting Rights Act. And Hirono said the administration is wasting taxpayer dollars in an effort to substantiate Trump’s lie that three to five million people voted illegally in the 2016 election.
“In Hawaii, we have a word to describe this sham effort — shibai, or as it’s more widely known, B.S.,” she said.
Democrats are trying to strip funding from Trump’s voter fraud commission was originally published in ThinkProgress on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.