Yet an emphasis on voter registration - and whether, as one member suggested, a cause of low voter turnout is that it is too easy to register to vote - provided hints of where things were headed.
Then-President-elect Donald Trump stands with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach at Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, N.J., on November 20, 2016. He said this will enhance American confidence in the election system.
GREENE: Has the commission responded to the suggestion that they're trying to restrict votes?
Almost 20 states reportedly have yet to comply with the request. Many election officials say they're far more concerned about election cybersecurity and aging voting equipment than fraud.
The commission's vice chairman, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, said Wednesday before the meeting that calls from congressional Democrats for his resignation are "baffling".
"We owe it to the American people to take a hard and dispassionate look at the subject", he said.
But even before its first convening, the election commission faced resistance.
Kobach has devoted his career to using false claims of voting fraud to suppress voters.
Kobach attracted some criticism when he asked all 50 states for voter information to help the commission study fraud. For almost a century, the League of Women Voters has worked tirelessly to ensure that elections in this country are free, fair and credible.
"I can tell you, President Trump, that we will be watching your commission", said U.S. Representative Terri Sewell of Alabama, an African-American whose district includes the civil rights landmarks Selma, Montgomery and Birmingham, where, she said, "people died, bled and fought for the right to vote".
The president said that more than 30 states have agreed to turn over their voter data to the commission, as requested.
The President then quoted former President Theodore Roosevelt, "It is the affair of every honest voter, wherever born, to see that no fraudulent voting is allowed".
Kobach, who has gained national attention for his efforts to prevent noncitizens from voting, presided over the second half of the meeting, during which commissioners offered their thoughts about topics and issues the panel should focus on.
We'll work to advise campaigns as they fight voter suppression cases in court, and we'll support candidates for secretary of state, attorney general, and other election offices that are committed to protecting the integrity of our democratic process by ensuring fair and impartial elections. Some states refused to comply and many others said they would comply reluctantly and provide limited data. Both Trump and Pence said the commission will begin with no preconceived notions or conclusion about what occurred during the election.