President Trump's voting commission lurched into action last week with a request for public registration data on every voter in America, including sensitive personal information like home address, party affiliation, military status and partial Social Security numbers.
The request sparked widespread bipartisan defiance among the states, including a federal lawsuit filed by privacy advocates on behalf of voters. In the wake of the rollout one commission member, Republican Luis Borunda, Maryland's deputy secretary of state, resigned without explanation.
With Borunda's resignation, 10 committee members — six Republicans and four Democrats — remain. While the Trump administration has pointed to the existence of Democrats on the committee as proof of bipartisanship, critics say the balance of power on the commission is heavily tilted toward Republicans, a departure from how election commissions have been run in previous years.
Here's how the commission stacks up. A spokesman for Vice President Pence told The Washington Post that it plans to add new members but did not name specific individuals.
The vice president is the committee's chair. After the election, he attempted to defend Trump's false claim that millions of people voted illegally.
During the inaugural call with members of the committee, Pence said, "The integrity of the vote is a foundation of our democracy; this bipartisan commission will review ways to strengthen that integrity in order to protect and preserve the principle of one person, one vote."
As governor, Pence supported a wide-ranging crackdown of a statewide effort to register African American voters, saying the effort was tied to voter fraud.
The committee is vice-chaired by Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state who contends that voter fraud is common and widespread despite all evidence to the contrary. He's made it a signature issue of his tenure in Kansas, authoring a number of strict voter-ID provisions, some of which have been struck down in federal court.
Like Pence, Kobach publicly supported Trump's false claims that 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally in the 2016 election.
Most recently, Kobach was fined $1,000 for misleading a federal judge in a voting rights case. Kobach is running for governor of Kansas and is the subject of a Hatch Act complaint alleging he “has repeatedly exploited his Commission role to promote his candidacy and to solicit campaign contributions, including by promoting his campaign through media interviews where Mr. Kobach appeared in his official capacity as a Commission representative.”
The former Ohio secretary of state is another die-hard believer in voter fraud. He wrote in 2008 that the voting process needs to be protected from “unsavory activists who are looking to subvert the election.”
As secretary of state, Blackwell received widespread criticism for attempting to mandate that all voter registration forms be submitted on heavy cardstock, rather than on standard paper. The 2004 presidential election he oversaw in Ohio was plagued with problems and Blackwell became the subject of at least 14 election-related lawsuits.
After the commission sent out its request for voter data last week, Lawson said in a statement that state law prevented her from fully complying with it.
McCormick was appointed by Barack Obama to the Election Assistance Commission, the federal office created to help states comply with federal election reforms, in 2014. In 2016 she testified in support of Kobach in a lawsuit over whether states could require proof of citizenship to vote by mail according to NYU's Brennan Center, a party to the lawsuit.
Previously, McCormick was an attorney in the voting section of the Justice Department's civil rights division.
Hans von Spakovsky
Von Spakovsky, a Heritage Foundation senior fellow and Fox News commentator, has been a longtime advocate for tighter voting restrictions. At the Justice Department in the early 2000s, he led an unsuccessful effort to purge voter rolls in Missouri. In 2008 he was denied a seat on the Federal Election Commission over accusations he had suppressed voter rights in a partisan manner while at the Justice Department.
“Election fraud, whether it’s phony voter registrations, illegal absentee ballots, vote-buying, shady recounts, or old-fashioned ballot-box stuffing, can be found in every part of the United States,” von Spakovsky wrote with a co-author in the 2012 book “Who's Counting?”
He told The Post last week that he hopes to “find out,” through the work of the commission, whether voter fraud is a widespread epidemic in this country.
Luis Borunda (resigned)
Borunda was appointed Maryland's deputy secretary of state in 2015 by Gov. Larry Hogan (R). According to NYU's Brennan Center he has not been outspoken on election or voting-related issues.
Earlier this week, following the commission's voter data request, Borunda resigned from the committee without explanation. He declined to comment to The Post on his reasons for doing so.
A spokesman for Pence said via email that "[Borunda] cited the workload would be too much. Wants to focus on his duties as deputy Secretary of State.”
The Maine secretary of state has said he does not believe voter fraud is widespread in Maine. Earlier this year he told ThinkProgress he does not support strict voter ID laws. He's faced considerable criticism since joining the commission, but told HuffPost that his seat on the commission allows him to be a counterweight to its more hawkish members.
He said he will not release Maine's voter data to the commission.
The former Arkansas state representative told HuffPost he's not sure why he was selected for the commission. “I don’t know why this has fallen on my shoulders,” he said.
In 2007, he was a co-author of an unsuccessful bill that would have awarded Arkansas' presidential electors to the winner of the nationwide popular vote, a reform favored by many voting rights advocates.
Gardner has served as New Hampshire's secretary of state since 1976. “Over the years, he has taken positions that have placed him on all sides of debates over voter access,” according to the Brennan Center.
Of his appointment to the commission, Gardner told WMUR: "Give it a chance. Maybe we’ll be able to solve that question of why so many people believe there is voter fraud."
Like Dunn, the West Virginia county clerk told the media he wasn't sure why he was added to the commission. Rhodes also told ThinkProgress he “believe[s] in the integrity of the election” and that his goal is to “help show that elections are honest … if there’s anything that I can do to help show that elections are honest, that’s my goal.”