July 11, 2017

Duckworth: Trump Commission Should Focus on Serious Threats to Our Democracy like Foreign Attacks Instead of Manufacturing False Evidence of Voter Fraud


[WASHINGTON, D.C.] - U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) today called on President Trump's Voter Suppression Commission to rescind its intrusive and illegal request for personally-identifiable information on every United States voter. Speaking alongside Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Democratic Steering and Outreach Committee Chair Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Senators Chris Coons (D-DE), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and others, Duckworth called on the Trump Administration to instead focus on the known cyberattacks Russia has launched on our election infrastructure. The Trump commission announced yesterday they will temporarily stop collecting data from states as they face a growing number of legal challenges. Video of Duckworth speaking is online here and is available for download upon request.

"Instead of focusing on the serious threat to our democracy posed by known foreign attacks on our election infrastructure, this commission appears to be attempting to manufacture false evidence of massive voter fraud to justify voter suppression," said Senator Duckworth. "As someone who served 23 years in the military, that makes me angry. Russia attacked our nation, stole voter files from Illinois, and meddled in our election - yet the President has done nothing."

"I can't help but think back to 2005 when I was laying in my hospital bed looking at pictures of Iraqis - including women, Christian minorities and marginalized groups - with green thumbs who were so proud they could vote freely for the first time,"
Duckworth continued. "I was so proud of the sacrifice of American troops. Now, we have a Commander-in-Chief who is spearheading an effort to take away the rights of people to vote through illegal actions."

Duckworth also pointed out that the Trump voter suppression commission's request also violated a federal law, specifically the Paperwork Reduction Act, which protects state and local governments from unnecessarily burdensome requests from the federal government. The law requires the Executive Branch, including the office of the President, get permission from the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) when sending identical information requests to ten or more people to ensure there is a justification for the request and an estimate for how much time and cost it would take for state and local governments to respond. The Trump Voter Suppression Commission failed to comply with this federal law.

"Any state that complies with the Trump commission's request would be rewarding a violation of federal law," added Duckworth. "That is a dangerous precedent to set - especially under this administration, where various members have already broken federal ethics rules, violated the Constitution's anti-corruption Emoluments Clause, and are reportedly under investigation by a Special Prosecutor."

Senator Duckworth wrote to the Illinois State Board of Elections last week urging them to ignore the unlawful request from the Trump voter suppression commission. In her letter, Duckworth highlighted how the request was a violation of federal law and states are therefore not obligated to comply. The Illinois State Board of Elections joined dozens of other States on July 7th when they announced they will not be complying with the Trump commission's request.