Civic Groups Welcome Termination of “Fraud Commission," Remain Vigilant on Voter Protection
Indianapolis, IN – The League of Women Voters of Indiana and the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP welcomed the Trump Administration’s termination of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, a commission that had sought personal information from Hoosiers in violation of state law. The groups had filed a lawsuit to prevent an unrestricted data handover in July.
President Trump originally created the committee to investigate his unsupported claims of voter fraud. On Wednesday, the President said he shuttered the committee because many states had refused to provide the Commission with requested information. Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, a member of the Commission, initially suggested she would give some voter information to the Commission as requested, but the League of Women Voters, NAACP, and co-plaintiff Joselyn Whitticker had argued that doing so would violate state law.
As of yesterday’s announcement, with the lawsuit pending, the Secretary of State and Election Division had not made a final decision on sending over voter data. President Trump has stated that his administration will continue investigations of supposed voter fraud, but now the Commission – the body that originally requested data from Indiana and other states – no longer exists.
“There’s no question this commission was laying the groundwork for potential voter suppression, and we remain vigilant against future threats to voting rights and voter privacy,” said Patsy Hoyer and Oscar Anderson, Co-Presidents of the League of Women Voters of Indiana. “We are gratified that Hoosiers’ sensitive information was not shared, and we appreciate Secretary Lawson’s statements clarifying that there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud in Indiana.”
“The NAACP was not going to stand by while this Trump Commission trampled on the rights of voters in Indiana and across the country,” said Barbara Bolling-Williams of the Indiana State Conference of the NAACP. “We are pleased that this immediate danger has subsided, but we are still watching this Administration closely.”
“We are pleased that this threat to Indiana’s voters has not materialized,” said Myrna Pérez, deputy director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “With our clients, we stand at the ready to vigorously protect the voting rights of Hoosiers.”
“My firm is pleased to have been able to assist the League of Women Voters and the NAACP in this monumental cause,” said Trent A. McCain of McCain Law Offices, P.C. “We will continue to support their efforts on behalf of Indiana’s voters.”
The suit originally came after, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the Commission’s vice chair with a long-time history of supporting voter suppression efforts, requested names, address, birthdates, the last four digits of a voter’s social security number if available, voter history, military status, and felony conviction history from states across the country. Indiana law only allows certain parties access to computerized voter registration information for certain purposes, and the Commission’s investigation and public disclosure of data did not qualify.
The organizational plaintiffs in the suit —The League of Women Voters of Indiana and the Indiana NAACP — are represented by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Kirkland and Ellis LLP, and Trent A. McCain of McCain Law Offices, P.C.
Learn more about the “Election Integrity” Commission on the Brennan Center’s resource page here. And, read more about other potential legal pitfalls in a Brennan Center memo.
For more information or to schedule an interview with a Brennan Center expert, contact Rebecca Autrey at email@example.com or 646-292-8316. For the League of Women Voters, contact Oscar Anderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 312-401-5063, and Patsy Hoyer at email@example.com or 765-532-6309. For the Indiana NAACP, contact Barbara Bolling-Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or 219-614-4889.