Imagine going to the polls on Election Day and discovering that your ballot could be collected and reviewed by the sitting president of the United States. That's essentially what Donald Trump is trying to do to voters in North Carolina – and we can't let it happen.
At the end of August, just two months before voters head to the polls in the midterm elections, Trump's Justice Department issued sweeping subpoenas demanding millions of records about individual North Carolina voters.
After facing a fierce backlash over the fact that the request would impede the ability of election officials to do their jobs and conduct free and fair elections this November, the U.S. Attorney's office decided to postpone the deadline for their request to January.
But the fact remains: such a request, whether it happens in the run-up to an election, or shortly after one takes place, only serves to discourage Americans from exercising their constitutional rights, especially people of color. I would know, because as head of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division under President Obama, I spent much of my time suing states that tried to block eligible voters from the ballot box.
Now Donald Trump and Republicans are taking things in the other direction. Instead of investigating voter suppression like we did under President Obama, Trump's Justice Department is complicit in it.
This isn't just morally wrong – it's illegal. That's why I'm joining North Carolina Representatives G.K. Butterfield, David Price, Alma Adams, and other members from across the country in calling on the Inspectors General of the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security to immediately open an investigation into these actions to determine whether or not they were politically motivated.