The Substantial Evidence That Never Was, the End of a Sham Commission

By Maya Drummond

The end of the Pence-Kobach Election Integrity Commission is a victory; a win for the organizations on the ground who worked to inform the public and sued the administration. The administration itself spoke to how the pressure of legal battles and push back from states that rejected voter data requests.

“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,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement. “Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order to dissolve the Commission, and he has asked the Department of Homeland Security to review its initial findings and determine next courses of action.”

Take it from our very own Executive Director Judith Browne-Dianis on her “Hardball with Chris Matthews” appearance on Thursday this week: “What we are seeing with this commission is there is the gig is up, no boogie man, they said there was substantial evidence yet, there is no substantial evidence. Because what they really want is for states to pass laws that make it hard to vote.”

She emphasizes why we must celebrate this win with caution: “The troubling thing is that they are moving this over to DHS because they couldn’t get it done through a commission because there were a lot of fights, there was also a lot of litigation, there were also organizations filing public information requests to get all of the memos behind it. They [the administration] think that if they move it to the Department of Homeland Security so that they can do their dirt in darkness. They are moving it to DHS which is the agency which is moving all this racist, anti-immigrant policy hoping that they will continue the myth and point the finger to undocumented immigrants saying that they are the ones who are committing the fraud.”

If 2017 was a glimpse of voter turnout in 2018, then this administration is right to fear the power of people of color at the polls. However, the tired and racially antiquated narrative that votes are coming in by mysterious and dark forces are not only problematic but FALSE. 2018 is a BIG year for elections and one thing we don’t have time for as voting rights advocates is sham commission’s circulating myths of illegal votes by people of color. We have work to do and we are more vigilant than ever.

Check out the full interview of “Hardball with Chris Matthews” with Judith Browne-Dianis here.