POLITICS
07/20/2017 11:27 am ET Updated Jul 20, 2017

Vermont Secretary Of State Tells Trump Voter Fraud Panel It Can Best Help Voters By Folding

He said information the committee was seeking would be "useless."

Vermont Secretary of State Jim Condos (D) told President Donald Trump’s commission it could best support local officials administering elections by ceasing to exist.

Condos made the recommendation in a Wednesday letter responding to a request from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), the vice chair of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Election Integrity, seeking advice on how the panel could best serve election officials across the country.

Responding to a question about how the committee could help election officials with technological and security vulnerabilities, Condos recommended it withdraw its request for publicly available voter data, which almost every state in the country has said it would not fully comply with.

He wrote Kobach could help him by “disbanding the Commission to alleviate the fear voters have of its true motives.” “If necessary, create a commission with true bipartisan support similar to the election commission created by President [Barack] Obama with bipartisan co-chairs and trusted, experienced, nonpolitical appointees,” the Vermont secretary of state added.

Condos, who said he had no evidence of voter fraud in his state, also advised Kobach to permanently withdraw his request for voter information, saying publicly available voter information in most states would be “useless” in determining voting vulnerabilities and fraud.

Several studies have shown that voter fraud is not a widespread problem, but Kobach has continued to insist it could be. Critics have called for him to resign from the president’s commission, which they say is searching for a problem that does not exist and will lay the groundwork for more restrictive voting laws. Kobach, who is running for governor of Kansas, pushed a law in his state requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote.

Asked what issues hindered his ability to administer elections, Condos cited “statements by the President and his team that [3 million-plus] illegal votes were cast in 2016 November election without any proof to support those claims.” He also pointed to the establishment of the commission itself as an obstacle.

Condos did offer some positive suggestions to improving elections. He recommended reauthorizing Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, a provision that the Supreme Court gutted in 2013 that required places with a history of discrimination to clear changes to their elections with the Justice Department.

He also suggested prohibiting gerrymandering, implementing automatic voter registration ― something nine states have done so far ― increasing funding for cybersecurity of voting systems and supporting the Election Assistance Commission, a federal body designed to help officials administer elections that Republicans have expressed interest in cutting.

During its first meeting on Wednesday, the commission discussed automatic voter registration as an area of interest, but cybersecurity, Russia and disenfranchisement got little mention.

Read Condos’ full letter below:

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