The president's firm stance follows his disbanding of the "election integrity commission" late Wednesday, which was his bid to investigate supposed false votes cast in the 2016 presidential election. "The report that this effort will now be moved over to the Department of Homeland Security is baffling", says Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights, which sent a Freedom of Information Act request to DHS in October requesting its dealings with Trump's commission.
The White House blamed it on states' refusal to turn over information needed for the inquiry.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders explained the president chose to dissolve the commission by executive order "rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense".
"It's telling that even in his announcement to its long overdue demise, President Trump continues the false narrative that there is 'substantial evidence of voter fraud", Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, said January 3.
Trump has repeatedly alleged, without evidence, that 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally in the 2016 election, delivering the popular vote to his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton. "These prosecutions will help deter voter fraud in the future". "President Trump can dissolve the commission, but the law doesn't allow him or the commission to slink away from view and avoid accountability".
"The obstacles and impediments used to hinder the work of the Commission is evidence that there are many politicians and activists who want to prevent the American people from finding out the truth", Von Spakovsky wrote.
The Trump administration, however, reversed that position early previous year. They are among 15 people to be charged since Kobach obtained the authority to prosecute voter fraud cases in 2015.More news: Natural disaster rocks San Francisco Bay Area but no major damage reported
Kristen Clarke, president of the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a nonprofit advocacy group, also welcomed the news, calling the commission "a vehicle launched for the sole objective of laying the groundwork to promote voter suppression policies on a national scale".
Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin - who refused to hand over voter information to the commission - said DHS would have to show a legitimate reason for wanting the state's voter data.
A number of Republican-run state legislatures have passed new voter identification laws of the kind backed by Trump.
"ICE has scant experience in this area and the databases Kobach wants DHS to use... are not designed for that goal and do not automatically reveal the status of immigrants who become USA citizens, which means thousands of noncitizen who are subsequently naturalized could be mistakenly tagged as illegal voters", Berman wrote this week.
Dunlap on Wednesday said Kobach and his allies "were the ones that were stonewalling", saying they had "very definite ideas of what they wanted this commission to come up with".
Was there any need for this Election Integrity Commission that is now shut down? Forty-four states contended, rightly, that it was unconstitutional for the commission to put together a federal database with that much private information. Alongside VP Mike Pence, Trump put Kris Kobach in charge.