January 3, 2018

SOS calls end of Trump voter fraud panel a ‘victory’

Donald Trump speaking at the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland.
Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore via cc

Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver was quick to react to the dissolution of President Donald Trump’s controversial commission that sought evidence of voter fraud.

“This is a victory for the integrity and privacy of New Mexico voters,” Toulouse Oliver said in a statement Wednesday evening. “From its inception, President Trump’s election commission never demonstrated that the collected data would be used for lawful purposes, how voters’ personal data would be secured, or how comparing insufficient data would produce any meaningful conclusions.”

The White House cited the lack of cooperation from states as one reason to dissolve the commission.

“Despite substantial evidence of voter fraud, many states have refused to provide the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity with basic information relevant to its inquiry,” Trump said in a statement. “Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today I signed an executive order to dissolve the commission, and have asked the Department of Homeland Security to review these issues and determine next courses of action.”

The panel, which critics saw as a way to expand voter ID laws and make it more difficult for some Americans to vote, never revealed any information proving voter fraud.

Instead, the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity was characterized by controversy and the inability to force many states to send sensitive voter information to the panel.

“President Trump’s voter suppression Trojan Horse is finally dead,” Toulouse Oliver said. “It’s now time to refocus on real threats to election integrity like foreign interference and cybersecurity.”

When the commission sought information on New Mexico’s voters, including social security numbers and addresses, Toulouse Oliver denied the request. Twice.

Commission Vice Chair Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State and voter ID proponent, wrote the requests to states seeking the information.

New Mexico wasn’t the only state to reject Kobach. In fact, even some some Republican election officials from around the country denounced the move and did not provide the information.

Democrats on the panel, meanwhile, complained of being shut out of the commission’s operations, and one member even filed a lawsuit.

Toulouse Oliver said she looked forward to working the federal government in the future.

“As New Mexico’s Chief Election Official, I will continue working closely with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, and other federal and State agencies to improve election security in New Mexico while protecting the privacy rights of all voters,” she said. “I’m hopeful that DHS will continue to address issues around election security in a nonpartisan and fair fashion.