WASHINGTON, DC — Congresswoman Chellie Pingree, D-Maine, has joined Representative Derek Kilmer, D-Washington, and a group of 11 other lawmakers in raising concerns about the future of Trump Administration’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Recent reports indicate that, despite dissolving the Commission, President Trump intends to transfer some or all of the Commission’s work to the Department of Homeland Security, according to a Feb. 13 news release from Pingree’s office.
Dear Secretary Nielsen,We write regarding President Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity (“Commission”) established by executive order on May 11, 2017. The Commission—led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach— was premised on President Trump’s unsubstantiated assertion of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 Presidential election and was tasked with overseeing “the registration and voting processes used in Federal elections” and identifying “vulnerabilities in voting systems.”The controversial Commission met only twice and spent most of its time embroiled in controversy. Notably, the Commission faced a federal court ruling requiring increased transparency, a lawsuit by one of its own members alleging that the Commission refused to share documents, and the refusal of almost all 50 states to provide some or all of the voter information requested by the Commission.In light of these failures, President Trump signed an executive order dissolving the Commission on January 3rd, even though the Commission had not yet issued a final report. However, recent reports indicate that, despite dissolving the Commission, President Trump intends to transfer some or all of the Commission’s work to the Department of Homeland Security (“DHS”).False claims of voter fraud have been used for years to justify restrictive voting measures. Evidence suggests that the Commission was intended to further voter suppression rather than investigate any legitimate instances of voter fraud, and we are concerned that President Trump intends to resurrect the Commission by transferring it to DHS. With that in mind, we ask for answers to the following questions within 45 days:
- Please identify the officials at DHS who will oversee the work of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity transferred to DHS?
- What role will Vice President Pence, Kris Kobach and other Commission members have in advising DHS on voter fraud issues?
- Please describe the anticipated nature and scope of the Department’s work on voter fraud issues, including the extent to which the Department will resume the work of the Commission.
- Does the Department have any plans to create a comprehensive voter database? If so, how will the Department ensure that non-public voter information is safe from cyberattack?
- Does the Department plan to match state voter rolls to its own records of non-citizens?
- How will the Department ensure that its work on voter fraud is not used to justify voter suppression tactics?
- What efforts are being made to ensure that the Department will execute its work on voter fraud in an accurate, thorough, and impartial manner?