Trump Dissolves Controversial Election Commission

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At the American Civil Liberties Union, voting rights project director David Ho said, "President Trump has tried and failed to spread his own fake news about voter fraud".

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, vice chair of the now-defunct commission, portrayed the president's executive order as a "tactical shift" and that officials with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) would scour state voter rolls looking for people who vote illegally.

The president disbanded the controversial panel focused on "election integrity", blaming a refusal by more than a dozen states to provide what he called "basic information". The White House blamed the disbanding of the commission on individual states which refused to share voter data with his commission, saying, "Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order to dissolve the Commission, and he has asked the Department of Homeland Security to review its initial findings and determine next courses of action".

Neither the commision or the White House ever produced evidence to substantiate Trump's claims of widespread voter fraud.

Trump had called the electoral system "rigged" before his unexpected election in November 2016, but continued to argue that there was large-scale fraud as he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.

Critics also viewed the commission as part of an attempt to distract from the ongoing investigations into Russian election meddling and potential collusion between Moscow and Trump campaign aides.

Mississippi Rep. Bennie Thompson, the top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, said voter ID laws, including in his home state, are meant to deter voters. Kobach was one of a few state officials to support Trump's contention of widespread fraud.

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The commander-in-chief, whose administration was buffeted with allegations in an insider book on Wednesday, steered clear of the scandals and focused his Thursday morning Twitter missives on his now defunct commission.

To date, no federal laws have been put in place to limit voting rights and the courts have soundly rejected numerous state restrictions.

"Since Donald Trump has been in office he has said that states should have tighter voter identification laws which is a dog whistle to those who want to continue to deny African-Americans, Latinos, and Muslims the right to vote, " he said.

A number of Republican-run state legislatures have passed new voter identification laws of the kind backed by Trump. They are among 15 people to be charged since Kobach obtained the authority to prosecute voter fraud cases in 2015.

"I wondered if they might not go in this direction simply because of the court order and everything seemed to be working in a pretty dysfunctional way from the beginning", he said.

From most perspectives, the Election Integrity Commission should have never existed in the first place. But several states expressed concern over how such information might be used by the administration.

The administration formed the commission, headed by Vice President Mike Pence, in May 2017 and instructed it to investigate "improper voting, fraudulent voter registrations, and fraudulent voting".

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