HRC issued the following response after the Trump-Pence administration announced they would disband the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, led by Vice President Mike Pence, following numerous lawsuits and no real evidence of election fraud.
Last May, Mike Pence was named Chairman of the newly-created Commission to prove he and Donald Trump’s claim that millions of black and Latino voters had cast ballots illegally in the 2016 election. It was disbanded on Wednesday, largely due to the efforts of a coalition of organizations, including the Brennan Center, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, state chapters of the NAACP, the American Civil Liberties Union, the League of Women Voters, and the League of United Latin American Citizens. HRC is proud to be part of this coalition.
“This is a victory for democracy,” said David Stacy, Government Affairs Director for HRC. “The Trump-Pence administration’s dangerous and false claims of election fraud were a farce from the start and a threat to the voting rights of all Americans, particularly citizens of color. Our government has an obligation to protect the right to privacy of all its citizens and ensure their fair and equal access to the ballot box. Mike Pence has failed miserably on all counts.”
After seven months and an earmarked budget of $250,000 for FY2017, Mike Pence has been unable to uncover significant evidence of voter fraud despite maintaining since December, 2016 that millions of people had engaged in criminal conduct during the election.
The Commission immediately ran into trouble when they ordered election officials in all 50 states to hand over private voter data, including Social Security Numbers and voting histories. This was met by the refusal and outcry of state election officials, including Republican Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, who told the Commission to “go jump in the Gulf of Mexico”.
In November, Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, a member himself, sued the Commission, claiming it lacked transparency and expressing a fear that it would lead to policy recommendations that hadn’t been properly vetted. This followed an announcement by the Government Accountability Office that they were opening an investigation into the Commission on the request of several senators.
Additionally, the NAACP-LDF has issued a FOIA request with the Department of Homeland Security, whom Trump has now tasked to take over the fraud panel, to see all work and communication done by the Commission.
The fight to protect fair access to the ballot box will not end here. The Human Rights Campaign will continue to support efforts to protect voting rights.