DOJ & Pence-Kobach Commission Voter Roll Requests Raise Red Flags

Statement by Common Cause President Karen Hobert Flynn

The Pence-Kobach Commission’s and Department of Justice’s letters seeking information from election administrators are telling signs of a coordinated, partisan effort to remove eligible voters from registration rolls.

Many state elections officials that received the letters – whose duties are to safeguard the freedom for all eligible Americans to vote – are rightly wary. First, some of the information sought by the Commission’s Co-Chair, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, isn’t publicly available data, and disclosure of such data runs the risk of rampant privacy breaches. Second, it’s clear from Kobach’s request that he will attempt to match data obtained from the state elections officials and from the DOJ requests, as he and several states have already done through his faulty Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck program. This program has improperly cut hundreds of thousands of eligible voters from the registration rolls due to mismatches, in clear violation of the National Voter Registration Act.  As he’s also publicly stated, Kobach intends to check voter registration data against the SAVE (Systematic Alien Verification Entitlements) database to determine whether non-citizens are on the rolls despite the fact that the Department of Homeland Security has clarified that this is not an accurate database for updated citizenship records.  

We are very concerned that the Pence-Kobach commission, premised on the lie of rampant illegal voting, is nothing more than a partisan attempt to manipulate our voting processes that will make it harder for eligible Americans to vote. We are pleased that so many election officials have already spoken out with their concerns about the requests they received this week.

As we prepare to celebrate Independence Day, it important that we pledge to put country over party and work together for solutions that remove barriers to our most basic freedom: the power to vote.