‘Go jump in the Gulf of Mexico,” is the response the Mississippi Secretary of State gave after Vice President Mike Pence and fellow conspiracy-theorist Kris Kobach asked all 50 states for an enormous data dump that would identify their voters.
We invite them to do the same in the Pacific Ocean.
Forty-four states (and counting) have rejected all or part of the requested data for President Donald Trump’s Orwellian Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.
This request is based on Trump’s damaged ego and nothing more. He lost the popular election by 2.9 million votes and can’t seem to accept that reality. There’s no evidence of widespread voter fraud, as newspapers from The Modesto Bee to The Washington Post to the Chicago Tribune have pointed out. We might not like the amount of time it takes to count California’s votes, but we believe firmly in the integrity of both the system and those doing the counting. It’s not a partisan thing.
What evidence does Trump’s commission offer of voter fraud? Nothing, because there is none.
We’d take Trump’s supposed concern for “election integrity” much more seriously if he would admit the extent of Russian interference in the 2016 election and showed at least a little interest in making sure it doesn’t happen again. Apparently, Trump won’t even bring up the issue when he meets Russian leader Vladimir Putin later this week.
Democrats are rightly concerned that the presidential commission is a stalking horse to justify stricter voter ID requirements. After all, the idea of “cross-checking” registration is straight out of the alt-right playbook. It’s a method to “cage” minority and lower-income voters, who tend to vote more frequently for Democrats. It is said to have nullified more than 30,000 votes in North Carolina alone.
As Alex Padilla, California’s secretary of state, said, “the ultimate goal of the commission is to enact policies that will result in the disenfranchisement of American citizens. I will not provide sensitive voter information to a commission that has already inaccurately passed judgment that millions of Californians voted illegally. California’s participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud.”
He’s not alone. Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, a Republican, replied “you’re not going to play politics with Louisiana’s voter data, and if you are, then you can purchase the limited public information available by law. … That’s it.”
Many worry that putting so much sensitive information – voters’ names, addresses, birthdates, party affiliation, voting history and the last four digits of Social Security numbers – in one place will lead to real fraud. Cybersecurity experts say such a repository would be a gold mine for hackers – those trying to steal identities or disrupt our elections. A UC Berkeley computer science professor called the idea “beyond stupid.”
Even the way states are supposed to submit the data – through a White House email address – aren’t secure, say experts.
The request came last week to all 50 states with a July 14 deadline.
When so many state officials declined, Trump took to Twitter to ask what they’re trying to hide. That’s rich, coming from a man who won’t reveal his taxes.
Incredibly, even Kobach said his office won’t provide all the requested information.
Padilla is right to refuse this request. We’ll only add that the Pacific Ocean is a great place for a dip this time of year.