If we know one thing about Trump, it is that he has a fragile ego. And his favorite topic—winning the election—is tarnished by the fact that he actually lost the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. He can’t stand the fact that Hillary Clinton received more votes than he did in the 2016 election.

In order to explain that blow to his ego, Trump manufactured the claim that millions of illegal votes were cast in the election, and all of those illegal voters voted for Clinton. If those people hadn’t been casting illegal ballots, surely he would have won the election by a landslide.

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The only problem with that, of course, is that it is all totally untrue. But Trump can’t handle the truth, so earlier this year he created the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. He filled it with known voter suppression advocates like Vice President Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to find these illegal votes and vindicate his completely made-up  position.

Sham Commission Is Totally Incompetent

As the first order of business, Kris Kobach, the vice chairman of the sham commission, is attempting to collect very sensitive data on America’s voters including names, addresses, criminal history, voting history, party affiliation, and even the last four digits of social security numbers. Dozens of states have refused to comply with the full extent of the request, including Kansas, where Kobach is the Secretary of State. Yes, that’s right. Kris Kobach has said he cannot legally comply with his own request in his home state of Kansas.

It’s a good thing basically no one will comply with the request because the commission has already failed at even the simplest tasks. First, the commission sent a letter requesting private voter information to the wrong department in at least one state. Secondly, the commission asked states to send the data via an insecure email address that could easily be hacked. Lastly, Kobach can’t even decide if the data he gets, if he gets it at all, will be made public or not and has contradicted himself when asked about it.

The commission has not said what it will do with this information or why it needs it in order to find cases of fraudulent votes. But it seems clear that they will take our personal voter information and compare it to a number of other databases to determine who is and is not a legitimate voter.

But in the past, this kind of comparison has resulted in thousands of eligible voters being purged from the rolls and their voter registrations cancelled so that when they show up to vote on Election Day, they are unable to cast a ballot. This is voter suppression, plain and simple, and it is 100% unacceptable.

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Federally Mandated Voter Suppression

It is our right as Americans to have a free and fair election system. That is the bedrock of our democracy. It is incredibly important to ensure that when we have elections, the results are accurate, and every voter who is eligible to participate had the chance to do so. So Trump’s claims of voter fraud would be disturbing if there was even an ounce of truth to them.

The real threat to our democracy and electoral process is the voter suppression laws that many states have already adopted like photo ID requirements for people to vote, restrictions on early or absentee voting, and the rigged process by which politicians pick their voters rather than voters picking their politicians.

In Virginia, we already have photo ID laws, and they prevent people like Augustine Carter from voting in every election. Mrs. Carter was born at home at a time when it was not common to issue birth certificates, so the only official document she had stating her identity was a church baptism document. When she went to the DMV to get a photo ID, she was told that the church document wasn’t enough and that she could be a terrorist when she was denied the ID.

After recruiting some help and jumping through many hoops, Mrs. Carter was able to get enough information from the 1940 census to prove her identity and get an ID to vote. But it shouldn’t be that hard. These laws are aimed specifically at people Mrs. Carter who don’t have photo IDs to prevent them making their voices heard.

Kobach and Pence have long histories of voter suppression and purging eligible voters from the rolls, and if this sham commission gets what it wants, it will continue that trend and bring the shenanigans that are already happening in Virginia to the whole country. We can’t let that happen.

Make Sure Your Voice is Heard

Our democracy works best when more people participate, and every eligible voter is able to to cast a ballot in every election. We cannot let Trump’s fragile ego threaten our democracy and erode our rights.

This sham commission is designed to instill fear in American voters and prevent qualified people from taking part in our democracy. But we won’t let that happen. Stand up to Trump and Kobach by pledging to vote on November 7 and helping to make sure that all of your friends, family, and neighbors are registered to vote and are ready to make an informed decision when Election Day comes around again this year.

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