Commentary: U.S. Senators Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and U.S. Representative Michelle Lujan Grisham introduced the Anti-Voter Suppression Act, a bicameral bill that would repeal President Trump’s Executive Order establishing an “election integrity” commission to investigate widespread voter fraud. The bill is supported by more than 90 members of Congress, including every Democratic Senator of color. New Mexico’s Secretary of State has refused to comply with the Presidential Advisory Commission’s request to share sensitive voter roll data.
“The right to vote is one of the most sacred and fundamental rights in our democracy,” said Senator Udall. “President Trump’s voter suppression commission is nothing more than a cynical and shameful attempt to intimidate voters — particularly people of color — delegitimize our electoral process, and discourage participation in government. As politicians continue to try and suppress access to the ballot box across the country, we must fight to eliminate barriers to democratic participation and ensure that every New Mexican and every American can exercise their essential, constitutional right to vote.”
“Our nation’s democracy is founded on the right to vote and the ability of every citizen to participate in that process equally,” said Senator Heinrich. “It is troubling that the Trump Administration continues to lack focus on the legitimate threats of foreign cyber-attacks on our election infrastructure, and is instead attempting to promote voter suppression efforts that disproportionately impact minority communities and risk the privacy of millions of Americans.”
“President Trump’s commission was founded on baseless claims of widespread voter fraud that continue to go uncorroborated,” said Rep. Lujan Grisham, Chair of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. “Despite this, the President continues to seek out reasons to make it more difficult for people to vote. These types of tactics have led to burdensome voter ID laws or the purging of voter registration rolls that disproportionately impact poor, elderly, disabled and Americans of color, and increase the amount of red tape and bureaucracy needed to exercise a fundamental Constitutional right. I call on Members to support this legislation and bring this commission to an end.”
The Anti-Voter Suppression Act would also prohibit any federal funds from being used to support the creation of a commission to investigate voter fraud, which is nothing more than a thinly veiled attempt at voter suppression that will disproportionately affect poor and minority communities. Facts show that a person is more likely to be struck by lightning than to commit in-person voter fraud. In a 2014 study, only 31 credible instances of in-person voter fraud were discovered out of more than one billion ballots cast between 2000 and 2014.
Last week, Senators Udall and Heinrich sent a letter demanding the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity rescind its request that state election officials provide sensitive voter roll data.
A copy of the bill is available here.