III. Federal-State Updates
The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity met for the second time this week and heard from a wide range of panelists throughout the daylong meeting.
There were some tense moments in the meeting between Vice Chair Kris Kobach (R-Kansas) and New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner (D). In advance of the meeting Kobach alleged that there may have been enough voter fraud in the 2016 election in New Hampshire to sway the outcome.
According to NPR, Gardner said Kobach's column caused a "problem" by questioning whether last year's election was "real and valid."
"It is real and valid," he said, to the applause of some in the audience.
The commission heard one proposal that all voters should go through the same federal background checks that gun owners are subject too.
The commission also heard from University of New Hampshire political scientist Andrew Smith about voter turnout data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
"The major reason that they see that people don't vote ... is that they just didn't bother, they weren't interested, they forgot," Smith said. "Basically, issues of convenience and noninterest were the major reasons."
Several dozen protestors, led by former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander (D) protested outside of the meeting.
Kobach spoke to reporters after the meeting and said that claims of voter suppression by the commission were “bizarre.”
“All the commission is doing is collecting data,” he said according to The Associated Press. “It may make recommendations, or I think at this point there’s a high possibility the commission makes no recommendations and they just say, ‘Here’s the data. States, do with it what you want.'”
Speaking of the data, the Associated Press has an up-to-date, state-by-state (and the District too!) round up of how each jurisdiction has responded to the request for data.
Alabama: Probate Judge Alan King (D), a member of the presidential election commission who was not able to attend the meeting in New Hampshire submitted a 5-page report to the commission in which he stressed the importance of expanding the right to vote instead of hampering it. "It is my sincere hope and prayer that this Commission will focus on the real election issues facing the United States of America, including alleged 'hacking' by the Russians, instead of spending precious time focusing on non-issues to deprive American citizens from voting," King wrote.
New Hampshire: The four Democratic members of the state’s congressional delegation urged Secretary of State William Gardner (D) to step down from his role on presidential election commission. Gardner said he will not be stepping down. “No, I’m not going to step down, and it’s hypocritical to ask me to step down as a member of a federal commission,” Gardner said. “Have they ever stepped down from a Senate committee or a committee that they serve on because they disagreed with someone on the committee?”
North Dakota: Secretary of State Al Jaeger has told the White House election commission that the state is unable to provide the requested voter data because the state does not register voters and state law does not allow information maintained in the Central Voter File to be shared “except with certain individuals and groups for a specific limited purpose.”
Oregon: The election commission has paid the $500 necessary to purchase Oregon’s statewide voter list. Under a new policy developed by Secretary of State Dennis Richardson the statewide voter list purchased by the commission did not include voters’ Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers, signatures, disability information, phone numbers, birthdays, how a person voted in any election, certain information about public safety officers, participants in the address confidentiality program, persons who demonstrated that their personal safety is in danger and receive and exemption from their county clerk, and 16- or 17- year-olds who preregister to vote.