The number of states resisting the so-called "election integrity commission" spearheaded by Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has risen to 27 — a loud and clear rejection of what is nothing more than a blatant attempt at voter suppression.
The resistance from the states against the Trump administration’s barely-disguised voter suppression effort continues to build.
Only three days after Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — also the Vice Chair of the so-called Presidential Advisory Committee on Election Integrity — sent a letter to all 50 states demanding extensive voter data, the number of states refusing to go along with the scheme has climbed to 27.
And it is a bipartisan front, as the list includes plenty of “red” states that voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 election:
27 states now opposing Kobach: AZ, CA, CT, IN, KY, MA, MN, MS, MT, NC, NM, ND, NV, NY, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SD, TN, TX, UT, VA, VT, WA, WI
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) July 1, 2017
Together, those states represent almost 207,000,000 Americans — nearly 65 percent of the entire population of the country.
The language of many of the responses has been loud and clear. Secretaries of State from California, Connecticut, Kentucky, and Texas all called out the effort as an obvious attempt at voter suppression.
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann was even more direct, saying in a statement that the administration “can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great state to launch from.”
They also noted that another member of the commission, Hans von Spokavsky, had been publicly rebuked by former Department of Justice officials for “undermining the Civil Rights Division mandate to protect voting rights” under George W. Bush’s administration.
The CBC went on to note just how troubling this effort by Pence and Kobach truly is:
We also have grave concerns that compliance with Mr. Kobach’s letter would result in unprecedented violations of American’s [sic] privacy rights and potentially violate federal law. The breadth of the information requested, including name, address, birth dates, political party affiliation, voting history, Social Security numbers, and military status, among other personal information in not only overwhelming, but chilling from a civil rights and liberties perspective.
“[One] shudders to think of the many ways this information could be misused, ” the letter continues.
Unsurprisingly, the White House’s response to all of these concise rejections is to attempt to belittle or dismiss them as nothing more than a “political stunt.” But that is entirely wrong. The states that are refusing to comply with this dangerous scheme are not attempting to score points or to garner good soundbites for political ads. They are standing up for their constituents, and for our very democracy.
Trump’s obsession with “voter fraud” has never been more than a figment of his imagination. That he is using this lie to empower people under him, who have evinced a marked interest in suppressing the vote of millions of Americans across the nation and the political spectrum, to invade citizens’ privacy is disturbing and violates the core of what our nation stands for.
These 27 states see this effort for what it is, and they are not going to allow it to happen on their watch.