New Dem commission aims to counter Trump’s voter fraud panel

Democrats are pushing back against President Donald Trump’s commission on voter fraud with a voting panel of their own.

The Commission on Protecting American Democracy from the Trump Administration, announced Thursday by the Democratic National Committee, will aim to debunk the myth of widespread voter fraud and highlight ways to expand access to the ballot.

Since Trump’s commission was announced last month, Democrats, voting rights advocates and election experts have worried that it will be used to lay the groundwork for new voting restrictions. Trump has said falsely that the 2016 election included millions of illegal votes. And the apparent driving force behind the Trump commission, Kansas Sec. of State Kris Kobach, is a nationwide leader in advancing restrictive voting policies.

“Wherever President Trump goes trying to take away voting rights, we’ll be there to fight back,” Jason Kander, the chair of the new Democratic commission, said in a statement. “When President Trump created his voter suppression task force, he created a means to legitimize Republican efforts to make voting harder for the people who already have the toughest time casting a ballot.”

Kander, a former Missouri secretary of state who now runs the voting rights group Let America Vote, called Trump’s commission “a danger to democracy.”

Rep. Terri Sewell of Alabama, a voting rights champion in Congress, will serve as vice chair of the DNC commission. The other announced members are Rep. Gwen Moore of Wisconsin; Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas; Rep. Grace Meng of New York; Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey; Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes; California Secretary of State Alex Padilla; Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey; District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine; Colorado House Speaker Crisanta Duran; Louisiana State Senator Karen Carter Peterson; and Maricopa County (Ariz.) Recorder Adrian Fontes.

Two nominal Democrats have been announced as members of Trump’s commission. But one, New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, has at times supported restrictions on voting, and is elected not by voters but by the state’s GOP-controlled legislature. The other, Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap, has said he’ll speak out if the commission turns out to be a “Trojan Horse.”

Photo: Jason Kander. Credit: Creative Commons 

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