Trump administration attacks voting rights


This video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Admin Will Attack, Not Defend Voting Rights

28 November 2016

Donald Trump wants Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to head up the Dept. of Justice, which includes the Civil Rights department. This is Part 2 of our 3-part interview with Gerald Hebert, the former Department of Justice attorney whose testimony helped to sink Jeff Sessions‘ appointment to the federal bench by President Ronald Reagan in 1986. TYT’s Eric Byler asks Hebert if it possible Sessions has changed since making racially insensitive remarks in the 1980’s. Sessions was elected at Attorney General of Alabama in 1984, and then as one of Alabama’s U.S. Senators in 1996. Now, he is President-Elect Donald Trump‘s pick to be United States Attorney General, which is causing great concern to immigrants rights, GLBTQ rights, and voting rights advocates.

Special thanks to Corey Goldstone and Nick Cockrell for facilitating this interview.

From the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund in the USA today:

The White House will investigate false claims of voter fraud

Today, the White House launched a new and baseless assault on voting rights.

With the stroke of a pen, the President created a special commission to investigate his false claims of voter fraud in the 2016 election. He claims this commission is designed to uphold the integrity of our election system, but a closer look makes it all too clear what this commission is really about.

Who is serving as the commission’s co-chair? Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a zealous proponent of the voter fraud myth who has been linked to white nationalist groups.

Who is tasked with taking action on the commission’s findings? Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has built his career on decades of hostility to voting rights laws.

The signs all point in the same direction: this commission is about lending the power and prestige of the White House to suppress the African American and Latino vote.

LDF has spoken out forcefully about this disturbing abuse of authority and is already taking action. Minutes ago, we filed a request under the Freedom of Information Act to get vital records about the formation of this commission and its legality. We will watch the commission closely, and we stand ready to go to court if it takes any steps to intimidate Black and Latino voters or to undermine existing protections of equal access to the ballot box.

But we cannot do this work alone. We need your help to stop this latest attack on the cornerstone of our democracy. Support LDF today, and help us protect the right to vote for all Americans.

With you in struggle,

Sherrilyn A. Ifill
President and Director-Counsel

President Donald Trump signed an executive order May 11 creating the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, a bipartisan commission that on the pretext of investigating voter fraud will seek to justify new attacks on the right to vote. This follows Trump’s false claims after the November 8 election that he lost the popular vote due to illegal voting by undocumented immigrants: here.

THE DOJ LETTER THAT MAY BE MORE CONCERNING THAN THE TRUMP VOTER FRAUD COMMISSION “These two letters, sent on the same day, are highly suspect, and seem to confirm that the Trump administration is laying the groundwork to suppress the right to vote.” [HuffPost]

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7 thoughts on “Trump administration attacks voting rights

  1. Pingback: Norwegian publisher recycles Trump speeches as poetry | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Racial segregation in United States education | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/republicans-automatic-voter-registration_us_58e3b8e6e4b03a26a3665ec8?section=us_los-angeles
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    > Republican Governors Keep Vetoing Legislation That Would Make Voting Easier
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    > Three Republican governors have vetoed automatic voter registration bills in the past two years.
    >
    > WASHINGTON ― On March 21, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval (R) vetoed legislation that would have automatically registered eligible voters when they sought services from the Department of Motor Vehicles. The veto made Sandoval the third Republican governor to sink automatic voter registration legislation ― and all three of them have seats that will be up for grabs in the next two years.
    >
    > New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) vetoed similar legislation twice ― once in 2015 and again in 2016. Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner (R) also vetoed legislation in 2016. Christie, the most unpopular governor in the country , is term-limited and will not be on the ballot again this year. Sandoval will be term-limited out of office in 2018, while Rauner is up for re-election next year.
    >
    > It’s not surprising that Republican governors in those states lack enthusiasm for automatic voter registration, which tends to benefit Democratic candidates. Hillary Clinton won all three of those states in the 2016 election , and Democrats see them as top targets for next year’s midterms. New Jersey will vote for a new governor this November, and Democratic candidate Phil Murphy, a Goldman Sachs banker who has endorsed automatic registration, is currently leading the polls.
    >
    > The issue is also a priority for Democrats in states where they are looking to consolidate power in 2018. Thirty-eight Republican governorships are up for election next year, including six in states Clinton won last fall. Democrats hope that President Donald Trump ’s poll numbers will remain low and help drag down the party’s candidates. In states like Washington, Democrats just need to win a small number of seats to get full control of the state legislature. While automatic voter registration may not be at the top of voters’ minds, Democrats will almost surely advance the issue anywhere they claim a governor’s house and legislature next year.
    >
    > Really, in two years’ time this has gone from nowhere to quite a few states. Jonathan Brater, counsel for the Brennan Center for Justice’s Democracy Program
    > Of all the possible reforms meant to increase voter registration and participation, few have taken off in the past three years as dramatically as automatic voter registration. Since 2015, six states and the District of Columbia have enacted automatic voter registration. Oregon’s state legislature approved it first, followed by California’s just seven months later. In 2016, West Virginia, Vermont and Washington, D.C., enacted the reform through legislation as well, while Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill worked out an agreement with the state DMV to begin automatically registering voters. Alaska voters approved a ballot initiative making registration automatic last November.
    >
    > Bills have been introduced in at least 30 states in the past two years. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) introduced federal legislation in 2015 to mandate automatic registration nationwide, though that never went anywhere. Both Clinton and then-President Barack Obama endorsed the reform in 2016. And progressive policy groups like the State Innovation Exchange and the New York-based nonprofit Brennan Center for Justice are working to advance legislation across the country over the next two years.
    >
    > “Really, in two years’ time this has gone from nowhere to quite a few states,” Jonathan Brater, counsel for the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program, told The Huffington Post. “And there’s even more legislation on the horizon.”
    >
    > Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Illinois, despite Rauner’s previous veto, top the list of states where legislation could be passed and signed into law. In Nevada, the issue is still alive, as Sandoval’s veto means the legislation will go directly before state voters on the November 2018 ballot. Colorado, like Connecticut, has already started the administrative process of moving to automatic voter registration.
    >
    > The rapid rise of automatic registration as a high-profile issue stems from both partisan politics and structural changes that previous voting reforms brought about.
    >
    > On the partisan side, Democrats feel the need to press reforms to make it easier to vote due to an earlier wave of Republican measures that sought to make it harder to vote, such as voter identification requirements, after the GOP won full control of 21 states in 2010.
    >
    > If automatic voter registration leads to increased turnout, it would likely be a boon for Democrats in states with large numbers of unregistered eligible voters ― particularly younger people, Latinos and African-Americans, who tend to lean Democratic.
    >
    >
    > Brian Snyder / Reuters
    >
    > A man holds voter registration forms outside a campaign rally with 2016 Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Greensboro, North Carolina.
    > “When you expand the electorate, particularly when you expand the electorate among poor communities, communities of color, English as a second language speakers ― that tends to benefit progressive candidates,” said Sam Munger, director of strategic engagement and senior adviser at the State Innovation Exchange.
    >
    >
    > The Morning Email
    >
    > Wake up to the day’s most important news.
    >
    > Allegra Chapman, director of voting and elections at Common Cause, a nonpartisan election reform nonprofit, said, “I think this is one of the ways that we ensure that instead of making it harder for people, trying to keep people who are eligible from voting, we really need to be offering greater access.”
    >
    > Advocates argue that automatic voter registration shouldn’t be seen as a wholly partisan issue, pointing to its enactment in Republican-leaning Alaska and West Virginia, and the strong bipartisan support it has in the Illinois legislature.
    >
    > The policy is also fairly easy to implement because it builds on previous voter registration reforms. The National Voter Registration Act of 1993, known popularly as the “motor voter” law , required all state DMVs to provide voter registration services for anyone coming in to get a new license, pay a ticket or receive any other service. And the Help America Vote Act, passed in 2002 after the Bush-Gore election debacle, provided funds for states to upgrade their voting infrastructure and create a centralized electronic voter database.
    >
    > The changes made in response to those two laws have enabled most states to transfer an individual’s registration information securely and electronically, which “has made the process of moving to automatic voter registration much easier from a nuts-and-bolts perspective,” Brater said.
    >
    > That’s the main reason Oregon was able to implement the policy so rapidly after it passed in 2015, automatically registering 225,000 new voters in time for the 2016 election. Nearly 100,000 of those newly registered voters cast ballots in November.
    >
    > But even states that don’t have that infrastructure in place can still make advances. Connecticut, for example, never completed the Help America Vote Act reforms. When Merrill, Connecticut’s secretary of state, began making changes to fulfill those old requirements in March 2016, state officials decided to go ahead and adopt automatic voter registration as part of that process.
    >
    > Opposition to automatic voter registration has largely come from proponents of voter identification laws ― the same people who make unverified claims of widespread in-person voter fraud. Former Federal Election Commission member Hans von Spakovsky wrote in 2013 that automatic registration would threaten the integrity of elections and that it would “violate [voters’] basic right to choose whether they wish to participate in the U.S. political process.”
    >
    > Christie echoed this sentiment last year when he vetoed automatic voter registration legislation for the second time, calling it a “cocktail of fraud .” And when Rauner vetoed similar legislation in Illinois, he said the bill “would inadvertently open the door to voter fraud.”
    >
    >
    > Joe Raedle via Getty Images
    >
    > When New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) vetoed automatic voter registration legislation in 2016, he called it a “cocktail of fraud.”
    > Proponents argue that states can and do take steps to make sure non-eligible voters aren’t registered. In California, where undocumented immigrants can obtain driver’s licenses, the state DMV already has a separate process to prevent non-eligible applicants from registering to vote. And residents who are not eligible to vote will be separated in advance when the state implements its automatic registration system.
    >
    > Despite Rauner’s complaints of potential fraud, automatic registration proponents in Illinois think he will eventually sign legislation this session. A handful of Republican state legislators rolled out their own bill after Rauner vetoed the original legislation, and activist groups like Illinois Public Interest Research Group have decided to embrace the changes made in that replacement.
    >
    > Illinois state Rep. Mike Fortner (R) explained in an op-ed last year that the new legislation would provide an upfront opt-out provision for anyone who does not want to be registered to vote (as is provided by every other state with automatic voter registration except Oregon). The new bill would also require voters to attest that they are indeed eligible to vote, as required by the National Voter Registration Act. Democrats have already passed a bill out of committee in the Illinois Senate that incorporates the new elements from the Republican bill.
    >
    > Abe Scarr, the head of Illinois PIRG, says the main sticking point right now is whether automatic voter registration will be implemented before the 2018 election, as Democrats and supporting groups want, or whether it will begin in 2019, which is what Rauner and his fellow Republicans want.
    >
    > “It’ll happen,” Scarr said. “The question is whether we are able to build enough support to get the governor on board before the end of the legislative session.”

  4. http://www.cnn.com/2017/07/05/politics/voter-roll-privacy-kobach-pence-commission/index.html
    >
    > What the federal government can get from your voter file
    >
    >
    > Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump’s election integrity commission won’t have access to all of the information it would like because of state laws that map out what is and what is not publicly available — triggering a national conversation on the privacy of voters’ information.
    >
    > At the heart of the issue is a letter sent last week by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in his capacity as vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to all 50 states and the District of Columbia. In that letter, Kobach asked for all “publicly available” data, but the long list of pieces of information sought, including the last the four digits of Social Security numbers, included several elements that very few states, if any, say they can legally comply with.
    > The letter said the commission is seeking to collect feedback from the states that can be used in its work studying the US election system’s integrity. But a request for certain pieces of voter information — especially the last four digits of Social Security numbers, military status, possible felony convictions and dates of birth — raised the concern of states, privacy experts and cybersecurity professionals.
    >
    > The federal government and Kobach say the letter clearly acknowledges that states are governed by their own laws in what they can provide, reiterating that fact in a court filing Wednesday against a lawsuit from a privacy group seeking to block the request.
    >
    > In a statement on Wednesday afternoon, Kobach said 20 states will provide public information and another 16 are reviewing their options, while 14 states and DC have outright refused to comply.
    >
    >
    > “Despite media distortions and obstruction by a handful of state politicians, this bipartisan commission on election integrity will continue its work to gather the facts through public records requests to ensure the integrity of each American’s vote because the public has a right to know,” Kobach said.
    >
    > But states and privacy experts remain concerned by the request in general, and some say the context of how the data is intended to be used matters just as much as the patchwork of privacy laws that could affect what states are able to disclose.
    >
    > According to a CNN inquiry to each state earlier this week, at least 45 states and DC said they would be unable to provide at least some of the information or outright refused to comply, including Kobach’s own office, which can’t provide all of the data under state law. A small number of states did respond positively, and some had yet to receive the letter or were still reviewing it.
    >
    > Is my voting information public?
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    >
    > The short answer is yes, some of it.
    >
    > Generally, states consider voters’ names and addresses public information, as well as whether they have voted in past elections and what party they have registered with.
    >
    > How a person actually voted in an election is never recorded, though which ballot they requested in a primary election may be.
    >
    > But from there, it can get complicated. Every state has different laws about how that information can be requested and used. Some states post the information in an online database, whereas others have tight restrictions on who can request it, how and for what purposes.
    >
    > Some states do consider information like some birthday information and identifiers like the last four digits of Social Security numbers public, but many consider it confidential or sensitive. Information like military membership and felony records is almost never considered part of a voter file.
    >
    > In addition to state records laws, there are also a myriad of state data breach laws and specific federal privacy laws potentially at play, including privacy laws over drivers’ information that could be applicable if voter rolls are mixed with DMV records.
    >
    > “Voters in most states should feel very confident that at most their name and address is part of their public voter file, and they should feel good that states are being careful custodians of their data to make sure that sensitive information doesn’t get out,” said David J. Becker, executive director of the Center for Election Innovation and Research and a former director at The Pew Charitable Trusts who ran their Electronic Registration Information Center. “The reason is because political campaigns, the candidates, want to be able to reach out to voters and talk to them, so it’s for no nefarious reasons they’re available, it’s for good reason.”
    >
    > Some of this information is also already aggregated in private, by political parties and commercial vendors who advertise the ability to look people up for a nominal fee, though that information doesn’t necessarily come just from voting rolls.
    >
    > Some states also do provide exemptions for people with a safety concern about their information being public, such as judges, law enforcement officials and domestic violence survivors.
    >
    >
    > Who can access it?
    >
    >
    > It depends.
    >
    > “Public” here has different meanings. Even if a state considers data public record, it can’t always be used by anyone for any purpose. Commercial purposes are not allowed, and some states only allow verified political organizations to request the information, which wouldn’t include the federal government.
    >
    > Many states charge a fee for the data, as well, ranging from just a few dollars to tens of thousands.
    >
    > According to University of Florida professor Michael McDonald, who studies voter rolls and elections, collecting voter information for all the states could cost more than $100,000 if states don’t waive fees. His research in 2015 concluded it would cost $126,482 for an average citizen to buy data from every state that allows it, $135,132 for a political nonprofit and $136,671 for parties, candidates or political committees.
    >
    > In some cases, McDonald told CNN, the cost is designed to prevent “casual use” of the data, but in other states, incumbents are given the data free while outside candidates have to pay, using the cost for a politically protective function.
    >
    > One wrinkle for the commission is that because of federal open record laws, anything states turn over will become publicly accessible. It was not in the letter seeking the information, but in a court filing on Wednesday, Kobach said the plan is for the commission to “de-identify" any data that is made public, though he did not provide specifics.
    >
    > That disclosure aspect could complicate what’s allowed under state laws.
    >
    > “The concern that some of these states could have is every state has a prohibition on the voter file being used for commercial purposes, and if the data could be subject to a FOIA request, then the states lose control over who has access to that data,” McDonald said.
    >
    >
    > So if it’s public, why did this request cause so much drama?
    >

    >
    > There are layers of concerns that states and experts have.
    >
    > Strong responses have spanned both parties. They include Republican Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann who said, “My reply would be: They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico, and Mississippi is a great state to launch from,” and Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe saying, “At best this commission was set up as a pretext to validate Donald Trump’s alternative election facts, and at worst is a tool to commit large-scale voter suppression.”
    >
    > A small number of states have responded positively, namely Missouri, Colorado and Tennessee.
    >
    > Some object to the federal government possessing such a robust database of all Americans’ voting info and potentially sharing that broadly across the government, especially when it is considered a strength of the American election system that it is dispersed and managed independently by states.
    >
    > Others object to the very notion that voter fraud is a massive problem. Trump has made repeated claims about millions of illegal votes, yet study after study has shown almost no voter fraud in the US and there were no indicators of any irregularities in the last election.
    >
    > Another subset are concerned about the data privacy and security consequences of having all that sensitive information in one place — a very attractive target for hackers of all kinds — without more information about how it will be protected. Critics noted that the letter’s suggestion of submitting the information by email was a red flag, though there was also a federal computer system offered as a different option.
    >
    > And a further concern is the motivations of the request for information and what the data will be used for, which are not clearly spelled out in the letter. Kobach has been a target of voting rights activists for years, who have accused him of aggressive tactics purportedly to combat mass voter fraud, which studies have found is statistically nonexistent in US elections. The letter, though, does include goals like preventing voter intimidation and disenfranchisement, even if those were not mentioned in the executive order creating the commission to examine voting integrity
    >
    > Kobach pioneered the growth of a multi-state program, called Crosscheck, that has been criticized by voting rights advocates for using incomplete information that generates thousands of false positives,or false matches of different people as the same voter, perpetuating a myth of widespread fraud and resulting in unjustified purging of voters from rolls.
    >
    > ERIC, a similar program from Pew, spent years working with privacy, technical and election experts to develop an encrypted database that checks more than name and address to identify potential voter overlap among states, according to Becker and its current director, former Washington elections director Shane Hamlin. It took that long to convince states that sharing data through the program would be technically safe and responsibly handled.
    >
    > Joseph Lorenzo Hall, chief technologist at the pro-privacy Center for Democracy and Technology and an expert in election integrity, said a responsible scientific proposal would first lay out what it hopes to do with the data and find within it, thus determining the minimal essential data to accomplish that goal. Hall is an adviser to ERIC.
    >
    > “It looks like this commission just skipped that whole important step,” Becker said. “Even if some of this information is public, what are you going to do with it that’s useful that merits putting a national database together? States are asking the right questions: They’re saying if you want this stuff and you’re going to put it together in one place where anyone can get it all at once, you’re going to need to demonstrate a real need to us to get it.”
    >
    > “I think there’s valid concerns about the security of the data once it’s provided and the method of transferring this data, and there are secretaries that are concerned about what the data is going to be used for, such as a national matching program which is much more complex than people realize,” Hamlin said. “It’s easy to generate thousands of false positives if you don’t have good data and good matching processes. And the risk is with thousands of false positives with this data, which won’t even be complete in all cases, (and) you can’t unring that bell.”

  5. Today, LDF took a powerful stand for the right to vote.

    Just hours ago, we filed a lawsuit in federal court challenging the President’s “Election Integrity” commission, the White House investigatory body led by Vice President Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach.

    We charge that the commission in its formation, membership and operations targets African-American and Latino voters and is already chilling minority voters from fully exercising the right to vote. We also charge that the commission constitutes an overreach of presidential authority, and violates federal law governing the establishment and operation of federal advisory committees.
    Join our fight to challenge voter suppression in all its forms.
    Learn More
    LDF’s filing today constitutes the 7th lawsuit filed by groups challenging the commission. LDF is the only organization challenging the constitutionality of the commission’s intention to target and chill minority voters from exercising the right to vote.

    Last month, the commission asked all 50 states for their voter rolls without reason. This wasn’t just a startling abuse of executive power. It was a disturbing sign that this Administration was laying the groundwork for a massive voter suppression campaign against African-American and Latino citizens.

    This matters. LDF is sending a clear message to the White House that we will not tolerate voter suppression or intimidation.

    We are determined to see this fight through to the end. But we need your help. Support LDF today, and help us make sure that every American can participate fully in our democracy.

    With you in struggle,

    Sherrilyn A. Ifill

    President and Director-Counsel

  6. Pingback: Charlottesville nazi murder and Donald Trump | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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