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electionlineWeekly — August 31, 2017

Table of Contents

II. Federal-State Update

Late last week, Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-New York) called for the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to be disbanded. “The president’s recent failure to unequivocally condemn bigotry makes its rescission imperative,” Schumer wrote of the voting panel. “… If the president does not act, the Congress should prohibit its operation through one of the must-pass legislative vehicles in September.” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-California) introduced an amendment this week to support defunding the commission.

According to a notice in the Federal Register, the advisory commission will hold its next meeting in Manchester, New Hampshire at 10 a.m. on September 12.

New Hampshire Secretary of State William Gardner has invited Schumer to address the advisory commission at the September meeting. "The commission should hear what the senator has to say, and given his very strong views this is a good opportunity for him to come and observe what the commission's work has been all about," Gardner told the Union Leader.

In other New Hampshire news, this week Gardner and Attorney General Gordon MacDonald informed officials in approximately 42 cities and towns that elections officials incorrectly included “handwritten, confidential, non-public information on the official checklists” used on Election Day 2016 and those notes are slowing the transfer of the state’s voter data to the election commission.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law has asked a federal judge for permission to depose Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach who serves as the vice chairman of the president’s panel. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ordered the Trump administration to show more evidence that the election commission was complying with public-disclosure laws. Kollar-Kotelly told attorneys for the government that she found it “hard to believe” that commission members would show up for a meeting not fully informed of what they would discuss. “You didn’t completely live up to your representations,” Kollar-Kotelly said. Attorneys for the government apologized.

In California, State Senator Henry Stern (D-Canoga Park) has introduced a Senate resolution asking other states to join California in not sharing election data with the election commission. “On its face, the President’s Election Integrity Commission is nothing but a tax-payer funded attempt to fuel misguided conspiracy theories,” Stern said when introducing the resolution. “This measure is a rallying cry for other states to join a growing coalition of election officials, Attorneys General and civil rights watchdog groups in protecting the sanctity of electoral data by not yielding to the demands of this fraudulent commission.”