Fewer voters, more vote hacking

It’s a good thing The Nation has Ari Berman on staff, because there sure is a lot of voting rights reporting to do under the Trump putsch. Just yesterday, he reports, there were four ominous moves against voting rights.

 1. The House Appropriations Committee voted to defund the Election Assistance Commission, the only federal agency that helps states make sure their voting machines aren’t hacked. The House Administration Committee previously voted to kill the EAC in February, but yesterday’s vote makes it one step closer to reality—practically inviting Russia to try to hack our elections again.

I for one welcome our new Putinist overlords.

 2. The Department of Justice sent a letter to all 50 states informing them that “we are reviewing voter registration list maintenance procedures in each state covered by the NVRA [National Voter Registration Act]” and asking how they plan to remove voters from the rolls. While this might sound banal, it’s a clear instruction to states from the federal government to start purging the voting rolls. “Let’s be clear what this letter signals: DOJ Civil Rights is preparing to sue states to force them to trim their voting rolls,” tweeted Sam Bagenstos, the former deputy assistant attorney general for civil rights in the Obama administration.

That’s incredibly disturbing.

 3. The White House commission on election integrity, led by vice chair Kris Kobach, also sent a letter to 50 states asking them to provide sweeping voter data including “the full first and last names of all registrants, middle names or initials if available, addresses, dates of birth, political party (if recorded in your state), last four digits of social security number if available, voter history (elections voted in) from 2006 onward, active/inactive status, cancelled status, information regarding any felony convictions, information regarding voter registration in another state, information regarding military status, and overseas citizen information.” While Kobach asked for “publicly-available voter roll data,” much of this information, like someone’s Social Security number or military status, is, in fact, private. Never before has a White House asked for such broad data on voters, and it could be easily manipulated by Trump’s commission. Kobach has a very well-documented record of making wildly misleading claims about voter fraud and enacting policies that sharply limit access to the ballot in his home state of Kansas. He’s been sued four times by the ACLU for voter suppression and was sanctioned by a federal court last week for “deceptive conduct and lack of candor.”

Ari is tweeting regularly about the states that are telling Kobach to fuck off, and there are a lot of them. Even Mississippi is one – Mississippi! The count is currently at 24.

 4. The Trump administration named Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation as a member of the commission, who’s done more than anyone other than Kobach to spread the myth of voter fraud and enact suppressive policies. Von Spakovsky was special counsel to the Bush administration’s Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Brad Schlozman, who said he wanted to “gerrymander all of those crazy libs right out of the [voting] section.” It was a time when longtime civil-rights lawyers were pushed out of the Justice Department and the likes of Schlozman and von Spakovsky reversed the Civil Rights Division’s traditional role of safeguarding voting rights. When von Spakovsky was nominated to the FEC, six former lawyers in the voting section called him “the point person for undermining the Civil Rights Division’s mandate to protect voting rights.”

Read the whole article for important details.

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