Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

President Trump Sends a Chilling Message to Minority Voters

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

President Trump Sends a Chilling Message to Minority Voters

Article excerpt

A bedrock principle of our democracy is the right for Americans to vote and have their voices heard. But the struggle to make this ideal a reality for all Americans continues. While states and localities throughout the country continue enacting policies that suppress the voice of minority voters, the Trump administration continues perpetuating the myth of voter fraud. We need the Trump administration to enforce civil rights laws, not to launch baseless commissions to substantiate their latest conspiracy theories.

If President Trump's so-called "Commission on Election Integrity" were comprised of voting experts, it would conclude that purging the registration rolls, closing poll locations early, moving up registration deadlines, and enforcing stringent photo identification policies turn away too many voters, a disproportionate number of whom are minority and poor. That is exactly what judges in courts throughout the country have found.

Yet in his executive order, nowhere does President Trump issue a call to respond to discrimination and suppression at the polls. Instead, he tapped Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the conservative architect and defender of restrictive voting policies. In a court filing, President Trump's own lawyers confirmed that "(a)ll available evidence suggests that the 2016 general election was not tainted by fraud or mistake." Yet now he wants to use taxpayer dollars for a partisan commission led by a conservative lightning rod who has embraced efforts to suppress the rights of Americans to vote.

We do not know how this commission will operate in its search for nonexistent voter fraud, but we do know that this commission harkens back to Attorney General Jeff Sessions' efforts to search for voter fraud in Alabama during his time as a prosecutor in the state. That fishing expedition had a chilling effect on minority voters, and this new commission could have a similarly chilling effect now. …

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