Read a PDF of our statement here.
NAACP Legal Defense Fund Statement on Expected Voter Fraud Commission
President Trump is expected to sign an executive order today creating a commission tasked with investigating the president’s unfounded claims of voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election. NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) President and Director-Counsel Sherrilyn Ifill issued the following statement in response:
“This commission is a thinly veiled voter suppression task force. Far from upholding the integrity of our election system, it is designed to impugn the integrity of African American and Latino participation in the political process. We are not mollified by President Trump’s passing reference to investigating voter suppression in this order. The real intent of this commission is clear. It was made clear by the president himself during the campaign, when he urged his supporters to watch voters in urban areas. It was made clear by the president after the election, when he repeatedly claimed that millions of ‘illegals’ had cast ballots, offering no credible evidence whatsoever for his assertions. And it was made clear by reports that the president will name as one of the commission’s co-chairs Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has been one of the most zealous proponents of the myth of widespread voter fraud. This commission is intended to mainstream the fringe views of Mr. Kobach and others like him, who have been unable to prove the myth of widespread voter fraud. And, by tasking the Department of Justice with addressing the commission’s findings, it has the potential to do real harm, considering Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ long record of hostility to equal voting rights.
“We must see this commission for what it is: an attempt to lend credence and legitimacy to the repeatedly disproved lie that pervasive voter fraud exists in this country – a lie designed to intimidate and ultimately prevent African American and Latino voters from fully exercising their constitutional right to participate in our democracy. All Americans, regardless of ideology or political affiliation, should be deeply disturbed to see the White House lend its prestige and power to the undermining of our political process. Even members of the president’s own party have expressed skepticism towards this kind of commission. House Speaker Paul Ryan, for instance, has said that he has seen ‘no evidence’ of widespread voter fraud, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said that no federal funds should be spent investigating voter fraud allegations.
“LDF will closely monitor each and every action of this commission. And, as always, we stand ready to meet with swift legal action any effort that seeks to intimidate members of the African American or Latino electorate, or that seeks to undermine practices that facilitate full voting participation by minority voters.”
Founded in 1940, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) is the nation’s first civil and human rights law organization and has been completely separate from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) since 1957—although LDF was originally founded by the NAACP and shares its commitment to equal rights. LDF’s Thurgood Marshall Institute is a multi-disciplinary and collaborative hub within LDF that launches targeted campaigns and undertakes innovative research to shape the civil rights narrative. In media attributions, please refer to us as the NAACP Legal Defense Fund or LDF.