The House Oversight Committee announced Thursday it is expanding its investigation into allegations of voter suppression efforts in Kansas and Texas during the midterm elections.
The committee, led by Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), already launched an investigation earlier this month into such allegations in Georgia where Democrats allege GOP officials enacted policies that disproportionately suppressed voting among people of color.
House Democrats, including Cummings, have made voters’ rights a key priority this Congress. While those investigations have not received as much public attention on Capitol Hill compared to investigations of President Trump, Democrats have vowed to highlight local disputes they say smack of attempts to decrease Democratic voter turnout or representation.
On a related matter, Cummings has also pressed Trump officials about a new citizenship question on the 2020 Census. House Democrats worry the move is aimed at intimidating immigrants and will have a chilling effect on reporting, giving the census an inaccurate picture of population in Democratic-leaning areas and thus fewer Democrat seats in the House.
Cummings and the civil rights subcommittee chairman, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), sent letters to officials in Texas and Dodge City, Kan., requesting documents “relating to actions that may have impaired the ability of people in those states to exercise their right to vote,” according to a committee statement.
Texas came under scrutiny earlier this year after Secretary of State David Whitley, was forced to walk back claims that there were 95,000 noncitizens on the voter rolls. Democrats accused Republicans of trying to purge voter lists or scare immigrants away from voting.
At the end of February, a federal judge ordered Whitley to stop his voter purge of noncitizens after it turned out only about 80 on his original list had actually been ineligible to vote.
Cummings and Raskin are also raising questions about a decision to move a polling site outside the city limits of Dodge City just before the 2018 election. The two lawmakers note the city is 60 percent Latino. And since the new location was more than a mile from the closest bus stop, “the decision to move the polling site last year may have impacted the ability of Dodge City residents to vote in the 2018 election,” the two wrote.
Ford County, Kan., in a lawsuit settlement, has since agreed to open new polling sites within the city, according to the Cummings and Raskin letter. But they still want information about the sudden change.
In both cases, the Democratic lawmakers gave the state officials a list of questions to answer by April 11. In the Texas probe, the officials requested any communications with Trump administration officials.
Amy Gardner contributed to this story.