House Committees Open Inquiry Into How Election Disinformation Is Hurting Voters

Two House committees sent a joint email to four states’ election officials on Thursday asking them to explain how misinformation and misinformation have affected how elections are managed and how new state laws are causing harm to voters.

Rep. Carolyn B. Maloney (D.New York) is the House Oversight Committee chair. Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D.California), is the House Administration Committee chair. penned the letter to state election officials in Arizona, Florida, Ohio and Texas on Thursday, requesting that they provide information regarding efforts to counter election disinformation and misinformation in order to “protect the integrity of federal elections in their states.”

The congresswomen said the committees need the information to better understand “the scope and scale of election misinformation” in those states, particularly how the “flood of false information” has impacted voters’ right to cast a ballot.

In a press release announcing the inquiry, the committees noted that these four states in particular are of concern, as GOP state lawmakers have “taken steps that interfere with election administration and restrict Americans’ right to vote and have their votes counted fairly and accurately.”

“The Committees are particularly concerned by reports over the past year that some state officials have relied on false, debunked election conspiracy theories to enact new laws and take other steps that could undermine future elections,” Maloney and Lofgren said. Newly enacted laws that “unnecessarily involve partisan actors in election administration and could lead to the overturning of legitimate election results” are also of concern to the committees.

The congressional committees are asking that the information they’ve requested be sent back to them no later than May 4.

Maloney explained in a tweet why they sent the letters that they were responding to Republican attempts at disenfranchising voters.

“The 2022 elections were fair and the @GOP is poisoning the well,” Maloney wrote. “Misinformation in our electoral system weakens public trust of an electoral system that has been in place for generations.”

Former President Donald Trump’s loss in the 2020 presidential election led many Republican-controlled states to pursue — and ultimately enact — unnecessary and over-burdensome legislation, which lawmakers justified by citing Trump’s false claims of election fraud. Many of these laws make voting more difficult. Particularly for members from marginalized communities.

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, 19 states had passed more restrictive voter laws at the end 2021. According to the Brennan Center for Justice analysis, at least 152 bills were authored in that year and were expected to be carried forward into 2022. 13 additional bills were also filed for consideration.

According to the organization, it was clear that these bills were a response to lies about election fraud disseminated Trump and his associates.

“These early indic­at­ors — coupled with the ongo­ing mobil­iz­a­tion around the Big Lie (the same false rhet­oric about voter fraud that drove this year’s unpre­ced­en­ted wave of vote suppres­sion bills) — suggest that efforts to restrict and under­mine the vote will continue to be a seri­ous threat in 2022,” the Brennan Center said on its website.

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