US states battle over voter integrity and voter access
In the months leading up to the US 2018 midterm elections, Republican officials in Georgia, Texas, and North Carolina made moves they described as ensuring voting integrity but which critics saw as blocking voter access. In Georgia, where Secretary of State Brian Kemp is charged with enforcing election law and was simultaneously running for governor, election officials blocked 53,000 applications to register, 70% of which are those of African-Americans, under a law requiring personal information to exactly match driver's licence or Social Security records. In Texas, the state attorney general charged more than 30 individuals with voter fraud, more than the previous five years combined. In North Caroline, a US attorney, in conjunction with Immigration and Customs Enforcement, issued subpoenas demanding that 44 counties turn over voting records to immigration authorities. Numerous studies have found no evidence of large-scale voter fraud in the United States, but president Donald Trump has repeatedly claimed, without evidence, that millions of undocumented immigrated voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. Soon after his election, Trump formed the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity and placed vice-president Mike Pence in charge. It was disbanded in January 2018, after states filed lawsuits to protect voter privacy and refused to turn over the requested voting records. Complicating the situation are state programmes in Pennsylvania and California to register voters through the Department of Motor Vehicles that have prompted thousands of non-citizens to register to vote (Pennsylvania) and generated some 100,000 errors including registering 1,500 ineligible voters (California).
Writer: Amy Gardner
Publication: Washington Post