It comes as good news, but no surprise, that the D.C. City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday not to submit to demands by the Trump administration’s Commission on Election Integrity to turn over information about local voters. Not only is it good news, but it was the only sensible move the Council could have taken in light of the fact that 44 states also have refused the Commission’s demands.
With little to no evidence of voter fraud found in the last general election, coupled with the breadth of information bordering on an abuse of privacy the Commission is demanding, it is unquestionable that this is nothing more than a fishing expedition in hopes of proving something that does not exist.
The courts have stepped in now to address a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) charging the Commission with violation of the Federal Advisory Committee Act and alleging that the Commission lacks transparency. The ACLU further claims that commission’s work is really meant to distract from the fact that Trump did not win the electoral vote. As a result, the Trump administration is telling states to hold off on turning over its requests for voters’ personal information including name, address, last four digits of social security numbers, date of birth and party affiliation, and voting history back to 2006.
Council member Charles Allen (D-Ward 6), Chair of the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, who introduced legislation protecting D.C. voters’ information said, “The District of Columbia will not be party to this blatant effort to intimidate voters.” Allen went on to say, “The myth of voter fraud is a distraction at best and at worst an intentional effort to justify laws to suppress votes — especially those of minority and elderly voters.”
We commend Council member Allen and the Council for asserting its authority on behalf of District voters. If anything, more efforts should be made to increase efforts that protect the rights of citizens to vote and not on ways that will further intimidate voters and cause them to stay away from the polls. That’s what we saw in 2016 and the outcome speaks for itself.