WASHINGTON, D.C. (NEXSTAR) — The House Committee on Oversight and Reform is investigating several states for suppressing votes during the 2018 Midterm Elections.
Democrats say the states intentionally scared voters away or made it difficult for people to access polling stations. But Republicans on the Committee say House Democrats are overstepping their authority.
Maryland Democratic Congressman Jamie Raskin says that the general tactic for voter supression has been to reduce the size of the electorate — throwing as many people off of the rolls as possible. Raskin and other House Democrats launched an investigation into the election and want information from state officials in Texas, Georgia and Kansas.
In Texas, the investigation will center on the attempt by Secretary of State David Whitley to purge up to 95,000 suspected non-U.S. citizens from voter rolls — of which at least 20,000 voters were citizens.
In Dodge City, Kansas — a predominately Latino area — election officials moved the one polling place three miles away. Raskin believes the move was to make it difficult for voters to get to the polls. Don Calloway, of the National Voter Protection Action Fund, said:
“That is intentional voter supression.”
Calloway says the move swayed election results. “It really is not a coincidence that it is happening at a time of increased political engagement.”
He says Congress needs to act fast to be prepared for the next election, but a speedy investigation may be difficult.
Jim Jordan, the top Republican on the Oversight Committee, sent a letter to election officials in Kansas, Texas and Georgia saying that Democrats overstepped their authority by requesting the information.
Raskin, however, says the investigation is constitutionally mandated and Republicans should not block them. According to Raskin:
“Voting rights are obviously the building block of democracy. Without voting rights we don’t have government by the people. Our committee is intensely interested in trying to find out what are the patterns of disenfranchisement that are taking place that can be done to prevent it from happening again.”