Voting is a fundamental lever in a democracy for enacting the will of the people, but that is undermined by tactics that intimidate and discourage voters from casting their ballots–including baseless allegations of voter fraud. Protect Democracy and the Brennan Center for Justice sued under the Freedom of Information Act to find out if the Trump Administration is continuing the work of the president’s discredited “voter fraud” task force (aka the Pence-Kobach Commission). Our work helped force the president to shut down the commission in January 2018. Even after it dissolved, however, Trump announced he wanted DHS to “determine next” steps, and the Commission’s vice chair said the administration would “pass the ball” to DHS to “move faster.”
In order to determine whether any federal agencies were carrying on the commission’s agenda to suppress lawful voting, we sought records from multiple federal agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of Justice (DOJ), through Freedom of Information Act requests. When those departments failed to respond, we sued.
This lawsuit has forced the Trump Administration to turn over internal emails, memos, and other records showing that their top staff considered efforts that may improperly restrict and intimidate voting. For example, in the period immediately following the dissolution of the Pence-Kobach Commission, DHS officials were actively contemplating policies like “creating a National ID” as a means of pursuing “voter integrity.” As the lawsuit continues, we will update this page with newly released internal records.