Lofgren and Fudge: U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Failure to Release Report on Minority Voters is Shameful and Wrong

Sep 18, 2020
Press Release

Washington, DC – Committee on House Administration Chairperson Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) and Subcommittee on Elections Chairperson Marcia L. Fudge (D-Ohio) issued the following statement today following news that Republican Commissioners on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights (USCCR) blocked the release of a report on the Commission’s research and findings related to barriers voters of color, voters with disabilities, and voters at higher risk of COVID-19 face in accessing the ballot box during the pandemic.

“It is deeply disappointing the USCCR’s Republican Commissioners voted to hide this important report from the American people,” said Chairpersons Lofgren and Fudge. “Throughout our nation’s history, minority voters have fought to overcome voter intimidation and suppressive voting laws simply to exercise their constitutional right to vote.  Rather than build upon the progress made, President Trump and his enablers in statehouses across the nation have used the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse to erect structural barriers designed to discourage Americans from exercising their right to vote or put themselves in harm’s way to do so.  For months, the Commission has studied barriers for minority voters in the testimonies of voting rights groups and advocates – now, rather than share their findings, the Republican Commissioners chose to bury them.  Their efforts to silence the warnings of mass voter suppression are shameful and dangerous for our democracy.

“For months, President Trump has spread misinformation and outright falsehoods, erroneously claiming he can postpone Election Day, lying about the security of mail-in ballots, urging his supporters attempt fraud by voting twice, and dangerously suggesting that - unless he wins the election - the results are corrupt.  It is no surprise that his appointees to the Commission on Civil Rights would rather hide the reality facing millions of American voters at risk of disenfranchisement than release their report to the American people.”

Background:

In June, the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights voted to study the civil rights implications of the COVID-19 pandemic.  The Commission solicited comments from voting rights groups and advocates – and more than 12 groups submitted nearly 300 pages of written testimony.  After months of research, the vote to release its findings failed in a tie.

The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is an independent federal agency.  Commission reports must pass by a majority vote, and President Trump’s recently appointed conservative commissioners rejected the report suggesting its contents were “politically motivated.”

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Issues: 
Congress Number: 
116th Congress