The controversy over Donald Trump’s sham election integrity commission has apparently obscured a voter purge initiative underway in Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department. From Talking Points Memo:


It was signaled clearly in a under-the-radar letter sent by the DOJ to most states late last month. The letter did not get as much as attention as the wide-reaching data request from the Trump election commission—which is being led by Vice President Mike Pence and hard-right Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R)—but voting rights advocates told TPM they find it just as concerning, if not more so.

“It’s very clear the intent is to purge more and more groups who possibly don’t vote the way they want them to vote,” League of Women Voters President Chris Carson told TPM.

Reading the cues in the letter, the National Voter Registration Act stands to be ground zero of the coming voter suppression wars, with experts predicting the feds will use it to pressure states into slimming down their registration rolls.

If Secretary of State Mark Martin’s unique acquiescence to the Kris Kobach voter purge effort is any indication, we can expect similar cooperation with Jeff Session. Again, it’s all about making it harder for people to vote.

The letter, dated June 28, asked states to hand over to the feds all information including “statutes, regulations, written guidance, internal policies, or database user manuals” that determine when a state removes from its rolls voters believed to be dead or have changed address. It cites the NVRA, also known as the “Motor Voter” Law, which sought to streamline the process for registering to vote at the DMV or other government agencies. The law also mandates a “reasonable“ standard of maintenance states must undertake to keep their registration rolls up to date.

Tellingly, the Justice Department letter focused only the latter provisions, and signaled no concern as to whether states were doing enough to make it easy to register, as the bulk of the NVRA dictates.

I’ve asked Martin’s office if they’ve received the letter and, as a citizen of Arkansas, asked for copies of responsive material.


Here’s the letter sent to Arkansas.

Here’s office e-mail on the request.