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President Trump’s Highly-Criticized Voter Fraud Commission Has Been Disbanded

Back in the summer, President Donald Trump claimed that millions of voters fraudulently voted against him in the 2016 election and established a commission to track down these allegedly fraudulent voters. Today, the White House announced that that commission has been shut down, following much criticism that the claims were unwarranted and baseless

The commission, called the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, was headed by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. It asked states to send in voter information via unencrypted email, which would include partial Social Security numbers and past voting history. Kobach asked other secretaries of state to send this information, but state officials from forty-five states and the District of Columbia refused to participate.

With the announcement of the commission came a flood of backlash. The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) sued in an effort to protect basic cybersecurity for voters and to block the data collection. EPIC’s lawsuit ultimately failed, but the commission is shutting down because the lack of participation from the states.

“Despite substantial evidence of voter fraud, many states have refused to provide the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity with basic information relevant to its inquiry,” the White House said in a statement to Politico. “Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today I signed an executive order to dissolve the Commission, and have asked the Department of Homeland Security to review these issues and determine next courses of action.”

Back in November, Matt Dunlap, Maine Secretary of State and commission member, filed a lawsuit arguing that Kobach and other Republican members has not revealed the whole truth about the commission’s activities, withholding key information.

“It’s no coincidence that the president dissolved the commission once it became clear it wouldn’t be permitted to operate in the shadows,” said Austin Evers, executive director of American Oversight, a non-partisan watchdog group that represented Dunlap alongside the law firm Patterson Belknap. “We intend to continue to fight for [Dunlap’s] right to access the commission’s secret communications. President Trump can dissolve the commission, but the law doesn’t allow him or the commission to slink away from view and avoid accountability.”

The commission was meant to mimic the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program (Crosscheck), launched by the Kansas Secretary of State’s office and administered by Kobach since 2011, on a federal level. In the past, investigations have revealed a staggering number of security flaws and false data surrounding Crosscheck. Kansas officials reportedly stated they would circulate updated guidelines to states that still participate in Crosscheck that outline how the changes to the system keep voter data secure, though many states have already abandoned the program due to this poor security. 

Meghan is the Life Editor and a National Features Writer for Her Campus. A senior at the College of the Holy Cross studying English and History, she hopes to one day write a novel (or at least edit one) and is constantly in search of a good book to read, her next cup of coffee, and a dog to pet.