CREW sent a letter to Vice President Mike Pence, Chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, in order to ensure that there are safeguards in place to ensure none of the data and other information the Commission is gathering can be used for any political or other purpose outside the scope of the Commission’s mission.
Vice President of the Commission Kris Kobach, Kansas’ Secretary of State, already used his Commission role to promote his candidacy for Kansas’ 2018 gubernatorial election is concerning. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has already raised concerns with the Office of Special Counsel requesting an investigation into Mr. Kobach’s apparent violation of the Hatch Act by promoting his gubernatorial candidacy through his federal Vice Chair role. Three other members of the Commission are Secretaries of State up for reelection, which raises the possibility of further Hatch Act violations, especially considering Mr. Kobach’s cavalier attitude toward the responsibilities and restrictions of a special government employee.
Another issue of concern is the Commission’s requests to all 50 states and the District of Columbia for state voter information that amounts to an attempt to a amass a national voter registry. Creating a national voter registry raises serious concerns about the potential for the data to be misused for partisan political purposes, namely, in the political campaigns of members of the Commission.
If the Commission cannot put safeguards immediately in place to assure that the data cannot and will not be used for political purposes, the Commission should refrain from conducting any further business until it has resolved this issue.