President Trump enlisted Vice President Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to head up the newly-minted Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. With the signing of executive order 13799, he established this commission, which intends to collect and store voter data from all fifty states on White House computers and make it available to the public. This data includes the full first and last names of all registrants, addresses, political party, information regarding felony convictions, and even the last four digits of the social security number if such information is made available by the state.
Many have expressed outrage about this voter suppression effort, even going so far as to un-register to vote due to privacy concerns with their personal data being released to the public. This is undeniably an effort on the part of the federal government to de-incentivize people from voting so as to suppress the votes of the American people and make them fearful of their data being released to the public.
I’m angry about this issue because it affects the most critical aspect of our democracy—that of voting. It’s making people afraid to exercise their rights, an intimidation tactic that is instilling fear in the public. The fear that this commission is inducing should not overshadow its fraudulent nature. Slate writes that only 30 cases of voter fraud have been determined, a stark contrast to the 3 million statistic that is being touted as the justification for rounding up voters’ private information. That’s about 0.001% of the suggested statistic. The entire premise of the commission, then, comes from a place of illegitimacy.
I am a registered voter in the state of Texas, and my Secretary of State Ronaldo Pablos has consented to releasing whatever information that he can which is considered public, which consists of full names, addresses, political parties, and voting method, i.e. absentee, provisional, early, etc. Clearly this gathering of information could pose a threat if such data were to fall into the wrong hands. This is why I am putting pressure on my lawmakers to not consent to providing voters’ private data to the federal government.
Though my information is at risk of being released, however, I refuse to un-register to vote.
Our votes, and in effect our voices, are needed now more than ever. It would be counterproductive to succumb to the anti-democratic workings of this commission and give up our rights to vote now. The commission does not discriminate by political party, so anyone who is at risk for information being released (everyone who votes) should be fighting this commission’s existence. Republicans are at no less risk of their data being released than Democrats are. So, no matter how you vote, making sure your voice is heard is the paramount issue, and we should not be swayed by the fear tactics of this anti-democratic commission.
Office: Common Cause Illinois
Issues: Voting and Elections
Tags: Election Protection