Kris Kobach Is Wreaking Havoc on Voter Rolls, Even Without States' Cooperation
President Donald Trump’s election integrity commission, tasked with investigating vulnerabilities with the country’s voting system, may actually be driving voters to cancel their voter registration in counties across the U.S. This sudden upsurge stems from a June 28 request made by Kris Kobach, Kansas' secretary of state and vice president of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, asking states to provide their voter roll data. Kobach is seeking voters’ personal information, including their addresses and the last four digits of their Social Security numbers.
According to the Colorado Independent, election officials in Boulder, Colorado have witnessed about 200 people cancel their voter registration, with 70 more asking for confidential status, which requires them to sign an affidavit “saying they feel their safety is at risk.”
Even more people are canceling their voter registration across the state. In Denver, there has been a 2,150 percent increase in balloters removing themselves from voter rolls since Kobach issued his call. Arapahoe County has seen 365 requests to cancel voter registration so far this year, with 42 percent of those cancellations coming in the past week alone. Mesa County also saw an uptick in voter cancellations, while only 30 people canceled in 2016. Sixty people did last week.
So far, 44 states have refused to comply in whole or in part with the election integrity commission. Colorado is not one of those states, as Secretary of State Wayne Williams has agreed to provide all of the information requested.
Election officials say those who are canceling their registrations are doing so because they do not want their private information given to the federal government. Despite the upsurge in cancelations, many voters in Colorado say they will re-register after July 14, when Secretary of State Williams hands over voter information to the commission.
Still the increase in voter cancellations is alarming, especially with the 2018 midterms right around the corner. In the 2016 election, Hillary Clinton defeated Trump by only 3 percentage points, underscoring the importance of all eligible voters participating in upcoming elections.
The election integrity commission has grown out of one of Trump’s most frequently peddled lies: that millions of people illegally voted in last year’s presidential election. The falsehood has been repeatedly debunked, and studies on voter fraud in past years have shown it is virtually nonexistent. On the other hand, legislation that suppresses voters—most of which is pushed by Republicans—has proven stunningly effective. Many voting rights advocates are already raising concerns that the Trump White House will use the election integrity committee as a pretext for more draconian measures.