Florida voters are in trouble. On Friday, the state handed over the voter data Trump’s so-called election fraud commission wants for a national voter database.
The move came despite a July 10, 2017, lawsuit filed by the ACLU to block the release of voter information.
Despite being charged with violating federal law by purging voter rolls in 2014, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner is the one who turned over the data.
According to the Miami Herald,
Detzner complied with the request by the commission after a federal judge in Washington, D.C., cleared the way Monday for the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to resume its effort to collect voter data from all states. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly rejected a request by the Electronic Privacy Information Center to block the data collection.
The ACLU is not alone in calling into question the legitimacy and true motives of Trump’s voter ‘integrity’ commission.
The Los Angeles Times reports,
Critics, however, have said the commission appears to have been stacked with members who support Trump’s unfounded claims that millions of fraudulent votes were cast in the 2016 election. Trump, who trailed in the popular vote by nearly 3 million, blamed that loss on immigrants in the country illegally who voted.
Nearly every credible study has concluded that voter fraud is either nonexistent or too small to affect election outcomes.
Slate calls the election integrity commission a scheme to end the National Voter Registration Act, more commonly known as the motor-voter law, which makes it easy for people to register to vote when they get their drivers license.
There is also controversy surrounding Trump’s choice for vice chair of the commission, Kris Kobach; the Kansas Secretary of State who pushed harsh voter ID laws in his state, and has lead the charge to purge some 20,000 properly registered voters from the Kansas rolls.
Kobach was recently fined for what might also be called repeated lying about his voter suppression efforts. The Washington Post reports,
A federal judge has upheld a $1,000 fine against the vice chair of President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission, citing a “pattern” of “misleading the Court” in voter-ID cases.
There is no evidence of widespread voter fraud across the country, or in Florida, which Detzner admits in a report in the Tampa Bay Times.
Detzner has not indicated any evidence of widespread fraud, and in his initial response to Kobach he wrote that Florida had a “smooth, secure election.”
ACLU spokesman Baylor Johnson said the organization’s lawsuit will still proceed.
“This case isn’t just about the fact that the federal government is collecting data on voters, but also how they’re doing it,” he said. “We look forward to continuing to fight to protect people’s privacy and right to vote.”
There is another pattern here that goes beyond Kris Kobach’s voter suppression efforts. Republicans began misleading the public about undocumented claims of voter fraud following Barack Obama’s victory in the 2008 presidential election. Since then, more than 30 Republican-controlled states have instituted strict voter ID laws, closed down many polling places, and reduced or eliminated early voting time. It seems the next step in the Republican scheme to control who gets to vote and who doesn’t is a national database that would make voter suppression even easier. Their vehicle for that is Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which could be horribly abused in so many ways, the Founding Fathers must be rolling over in their graves.
When it comes to democracy or at least the appearance thereof, Republican hypocrisy is nauseating. The mere idea of a national database for gun owners for public safety reasons was met with outrage and claims of Big Brother-type spying from Republicans. But they’re okay with scooping up mountains of personal data on anyone in this country who dares to exercise their right to vote. Feel free to add your own adjectives to ‘nauseating’ because that word alone is not enough.
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