Trump's "Voter Fraud Commission" Is a Nightmare

screen cap of White House page on the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity

"On May 11, 2017, President Donald J. Trump signed an Executive Order establishing the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Vice President Mike Pence chairs the Commission, and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach serves as the vice chair."

Trump established his Orwellian-named Election Integrity commission on the ridiculous and thoroughly debunked premise that he would have won the popular vote if only there hadn't been widespread voter fraud. Specifically, he has contended that millions of undocumented immigrants voted illegally, and all of them cast their votes for Hillary Clinton.

It's horseshit. It's a variation on the same horseshit that Republicans have been peddling for years to justify their various encroachments on voting rights. They continually make unsubstantiable claims about rampant voter fraud, despite the fact that multiple nonpartisan studies have found that voter fraud is virtually nonexistent.

But the fact that these assertions are demonstrable horseshit doesn't matter to Republicans nor to their base, who aren't the voters likely to be disenfranchised from voting.

They might, however, be concerned about the fact that Trump's Election Integrity Commission — which has been a shitshow from its inception — plans to create a massive national voter database, which national security experts are warning is at serious risk of being hacked.

Hamza Shaban at the Washington Post reports:
More than a half-dozen technology experts and former national security officials filed an amicus brief Tuesday urging a federal court to halt the collection of voter information for a planned government database.

Former national intelligence director James R. Clapper Jr., one of the co-signatories of the brief, warned that a White House plan to create a centralized database containing sensitive information on millions of American voters will become an attractive target for nation states and criminal hackers. This summer, the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity issued a sweeping request to state officials to submit voter data to "analyze vulnerabilities and issues related to voter registration and voting." The commission, which is chaired by Vice President Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), was established after [Donald] Trump claimed that he would have won the popular vote if not for as many as 5 million illegally cast ballots. State officials haven't found any indication that there was widespread voter fraud.

State officials and civil rights advocates have questioned the commission's stated mission and broad data collection, arguing that it could restrict voting.

But the brief focuses on the security implications of aggregating and housing sensitive information, such as names, addresses, party affiliation, and partial social security numbers, in one central location, without adequate security and privacy safeguards. "A large database aggregating [personally identifiable information] of millions of American voters in one place, as the Commission has compiled and continues to compile, would constitute a treasure trove for malicious actors," the signatories wrote.

The brief states that the commission does not appear to have established rules or procedures defining who gets access to the database or how it should be actively protected.
Since June, we have known that there was hacking of state and local election databases during the 2016 election, including "the theft of thousands of voter records that contain private information like partial Social Security numbers." It is a serious concern that 2016 was just a dry run, and the meddling with and theft of voting records could be significantly more extensive in future. Why on earth would the Trump administration want to create a lumbering, central database which would make hackers' job even easier?

Well, as I've previously noted, Crosscheck, the data collection and aggregation program run by Election Integrity Commission vice-chair Kris Kobach's state of Kansas, which is positioned as a "voter fraud prevention" tool, is totally ineffective at preventing voter fraud, but very successful at disenfranchising voters.

The Republican Party can't win elections without the assistance of gerrymandering and voter suppression. (And the undemocratic Electoral College.) So Trump has tasked Mike Pence and Kris Koback with destroying our democracy as quickly and thoroughly as possible, under the auspices of preserving it.

And if the cost is exposing every voter in the United States to identity theft and sundry other schemes devised by foreign adversaries, that is a cost they are willing to let us pay.

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