WASHINGTON— Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued the following statement based on reports that President Trump is set to announce the creation of a “Presidential Commission on Election Integrity” through an Executive Order:
“This executive order is a farce, plain and simple, and a seemingly naked attempt by President Trump to divert attention from his firing of FBI Director James Comey and the very serious investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia to influence the 2016 election. No one should be fooled.
“Instead of supporting that investigation or addressing the real issues that prevent Americans from exercising their right to vote, Trump is proposing a commission focused on a problem that does not exist. Study after study has found that cases of voter fraud are infinitesimally rare. It’s no wonder that President Trump has yet to be able to provide any evidence for his absurd claim that ‘millions’ voted illegally during the 2016 election.
“Instead of searching for Trump’s white whale, this commission, if it goes forward, should instead focus on the many barriers that qualified voters face: oppressive voter ID laws, inadequate access to functional polling places, online voter registration, and solutions to long lines on election day, such as early voting. The right to vote is fundamental to our democracy, and should be above party politics. Our democracy is enriched when more people exercise their right to vote.
“We are deeply troubled by the inclusion of Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as vice-chair of the commission. His discriminatory and regressive views on voting rights are well known and render him too biased to neutrally assess voting issues. While the commission may include Democrats and Republicans, it completely lacks the bipartisan credibility of past commissions, like the 2014 Presidential Commission on Election Administration, co-chaired by Democrat Robert Bauer and Republican Benjamin Ginsberg.
“There are serious issues with voting rights in America, but this commission will not address them. It should be stopped before it gets started.”
The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights is a coalition charged by its diverse membership of more than 200 national organizations to promote and protect the rights of all persons in the United States. The Leadership Conference works toward an America as good as its ideals. For more information on The Leadership Conference and its 200-plus member organizations, visit www.civilrights.org.