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Thread: Trump administration wants info on voters, 27 states balk at handing over data

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  1. #1
    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Trump administration wants info on voters, 27 states balk at handing over data

    Trump administration wants info on voters


    At least 27 states balk at handing over data that could include full names and voting history

    Pence-Kobach voting commission alarms states with info request

    By Tal Kopan, CNN
    Updated 7:25 PM ET, Fri June 30, 2017

    Washington (CNN)A Trump administration letter requesting data from all 50 state's voting rolls has put some states and voting rights advocates on edge after many were already wary of the aims of the President's commission on voting.

    The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity's vice chairman, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, sent a letter to each state Wednesday asking a series of questions soliciting feedback about election administration, voter fraud and the integrity of the process. CNN obtained a copy of the letter sent to Maine's secretary of state.

    Kobach also requested that each state provide "publicly available voter roll data" as allowed under each state's laws, which could include full names of registered voters, dates of birth, party registration, last four digits of Social Security numbers and voting history.


    The letter was discussed on an organizational call of the commission, according to a White House readout and spokesman Marc Lotter.

    As of Friday afternoon, at least 27 states had publicly expressed reservations or legal barriers to turning over all of the requested information, particularly with regard to the privacy of social security numbers, according to a CNN inquiry to all 50 states. Several others, including South Carolina and Arkansas, had not yet received Kobach's letter.


    Some state officials began coming out Thursday in opposition to the request -- concerned that it was evidence of an agenda by the Trump White House and dismissing it as "politically motivated and silly posturing," per Virginia's governor.


    "I have no intention of honoring this request," Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, said in a statement. "Virginia conducts fair, honest, and democratic elections, and there is no evidence of significant voter fraud in Virginia. This entire commission is based on the specious and false notion that there was widespread voter fraud last November. At best this commission was set up as a pretext to validate Donald Trump's alternative election facts, and at worst is a tool to commit large-scale voter suppression."


    Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, said of Kobach's letter: "My reply would be: They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico, and Mississippi is a great state to launch from.

    Mississippi residents should celebrate Independence Day and our state's right to protect the privacy of our citizens by conducting our own electoral processes."


    The Connecticut secretary of state, Democrat Denise Merrill, said she would share information that is publicly available "in the spirit of transparency," while also protecting private voter information.

    But she also criticized Kobach's track record and expressed concern in an ulterior motive.



    Little movement on White House probe into voter fraud

    "In the same spirit of transparency, we will request that the Commission share any memos, meeting minutes or additional information as state officials have not been told precisely what the Commission is looking for," Merrill said. "This lack of openness is all the more concerning, considering that the Vice Chair of the Commission, Kris Kobach, has a lengthy record of illegally disenfranchising eligible voters in Kansas."

    Civil rights and voting rights advocates were also concerned. Loyola Law School professor Justin Levitt, a former Obama Justice Department official, blasted the request from Kobach as "massively irresponsible" and questioned whether it might run afoul of certain laws, in a post on the legal blog Take Care.


    Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, who is a member of the commission, said his state would review the request under state law. He also confirmed to CNN that the commission discussed the request on its organizing call and agreed to send the letter ahead of its first meeting.


    "There was no objections raised in the organizational call to asking for this information and beginning the fact-finding process," said Lotter about the controversy in response to the letter. "It's just requesting public information. ... As the President's executive order says, the commission is going to look at issues that could cause fraudulent or not-current voter registration, which could lead to improper voting, as part of a holistic look at the election systems and what can be done to maintain the integrity but also in some cases strengthen the integrity and security of that information moving forward."


    As Kansas secretary of state, Kobach has been a leading voice nationally in trying to combat voter fraud, which studies have shown is statistically close to nonexistent. He has also become a lightning rod for controversy and a target of voting rights activists.


    Kobach pioneered a national cross-referencing system for states to check their voter rolls for overlaps. His critics have alleged the system is too prone to allowing legitimate voters to be purged from voting systems. He also fought in court for the ability to require verification of citizenship on voter registration forms, ultimately unsuccessfully.



    Kelly: Election hacking attempts 'way of the future'


    Kobach has defended his actions, saying he is seeking to uphold the integrity of elections. Trump has repeatedly discussed a similar theme, decrying voter fraud as a large scale problem. He has made debunked and unsubstantiated claims about millions of illegal votes in the 2016 election.

    The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity was set up, ostensibly, to look into the possibility of vote fraud and the integrity of the system more generally. Vice President Mike Pence chairs the commission, which has four Democratic members so far.


    Kobach's appointment as vice chairman rankled voting rights groups from the start, and Trump's addition to the commission of Hans Von Spakovsky, a Heritage Foundation scholar and longtime sparring partner for the groups, on Thursday only added to the concern.


    Some members of the commission have said they hope to investigate Russian meddling in the election and the security of voting networks.


    The voting commission has started to begin its work, with its organizational call this week and a scheduled first meeting later this month. Lotter said the goal of the commission is to have a report to the President within a year.

    http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/30/politi...lls/index.html

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    Super Moderator GeorgiaPeach's Avatar
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    Good to see some movement by this group with Kris Kobach as one of the leads. Many will not want to be cooperative, including some Republicans.
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    But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible.
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Oregon SOS Offers Limited Data to Trump Commission, for $500

    June 30, 2017
    Oregon's chief election official has told President Donald Trump's commission investigating allegations of voter fraud that it could receive a statewide list of voters for $500, just like anyone else.
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    . . . No state election official planned to provide the commission with all of the information requested — even Kansas, where commission vice chairman Kris Kobach is secretary of state. He sent the letter asking for the names, party affiliations, addresses, voting histories, felony convictions, military service and the last four digits of Social Security numbers for all voters.

    A spokeswoman for Kobach's office said the last four digits of Social Security numbers are not publicly available under Kansas law and would not be handed over. That was the case in many other states, noted in statements from top election officials and responses to queries from reporters for The Associated Press. . .

    @
    https://www.usnews.com/news/best-sta...ate-voter-data
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    Senior Member 6 Million Dollar Man's Avatar
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    If they had nothing to hide, they would have no problem handing over the data. Just because of their refusal, the Trump administration should make it law that states provide this data to the government. After all, the Presidency is a FEDERAL office, not a state office. The federal government has every right to make sure that a federal election is not corrupted and there was no voter fraud in any way.

    Of course blue states like California and Illinois don't want to lose their illegal votes. AND...they sure don't want this voter fraud exposed.
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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    Ohio will not give private voter data to Trump 2016 election commission




    2:25 p.m Friday, June 30, 2017 Ohio and regional news

    OHIO

    Secretary of State Jon Husted


    Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted says he will not give voters’ private information to President Donald Trump’s commission investigating alleged voter fraud in the 2016 elections.

    RELATED: How safe is your vote?

    The request is for a list of the names, party affiliations, addresses and voting histories of all voters, if state law allows it to be public.


    “Voter registration information is a public record and is available online,” Husted said Friday. “The confidential information, such as the last four digits of a voter’s Social Security number or their Ohio driver license number is not publicly available and will not be provided to the Commission.”

    Husted, a Republican, is running for governor in 2018.

    http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/...4_politics_sfp

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    Senior Member JohnDoe2's Avatar
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    JUNE 30, 2017 3:25 PM

    Kobach: Kansas won’t give Social Security info to Kobach-led voter commission at this time


    BY BRYAN LOWRY
    blowry@kcstar.com

    Multiple states plan to buck Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach’s request for personal information on voters on behalf of a presidential commission.

    Kobach said Friday that Kansas, at least for now, also won’t be sharing Social Security information with the commission, on which he serves as vice chairman. The state will share other information about the state’s registered voters, including names and addresses, which are subject to the state’s open records laws.


    Kobach sent letters on behalf of the commission to every state requesting names, addresses, voting history and other personal information, such as the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers, earlier this week.


    Kobach said Thursday that Kansas would provide all the information requested in the letter, but in a follow-up interview Friday, he said the state would not be sharing the Social Security information at this time.


    “In Kansas, the Social Security number is not publicly available. … Every state receives the same letter, but we’re not asking for it if it’s not publicly available,” Kobach said.


    He did not rule out the possibility of providing that information to the commission in the future.

    “If the commission decides that they would like to receive Social Security numbers to a secure site in order to remove false positives, then we would have to double check and make sure Kansas law permits,” Kobach said.


    “I know for a fact that this information would be secured and maintained confidentially,” he added in response to security concerns.


    California and Kentucky’s Democratic secretaries of state said Thursday that they would not comply with the request. Virginia’s Democratic governor also said the state would not adhere to the request. Minnesota’s Democratic secretary of state followed suit on Friday.


    Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, also will not comply.


    “They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great State to launch from,” Hosemann said in a statement. “Mississippi residents should celebrate Independence Day and our State’s right to protect the privacy of our citizens by conducting our own electoral processes.”


    Other states, including Republican-led Oklahoma and Utah, announced plans to provide some information to the commission while withholding other pieces, such as the partial Social Security numbers.


    Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft’s office said Friday that it would not provide Social Security information or voting history to the commission.

    Ashcroft, a Republican, had said the day before that he looked forward to working with Kobach on the issue.


    North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, said in a statement Friday that he had advised the state’s voting board to not provide sensitive information beyond what is in the public record.


    “That’s perfectly fine,” Kobach said Friday when asked about states that would provide names but withhold other information. “We understand that. And that is entirely up to each state.”


    Kobach said the commission is seeking only information that is publicly available.


    Trump expressed his frustration on Twitter Saturday about states’ resistance to providing the information.


    “Numerous states are refusing to give information to the very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL. What are they trying to hide?” the president said.


    Trump has repeatedly made the unsupported claim that he lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton because of illegal votes.


    The Kansas Secretary of State is a vocal supporter of the president-elect.
    Hunter Woodall The Kansas City Star

    Kobach has said that personal information provided by states will not be disclosed, but many readers, including other election officials, have interpreted a line saying that documents will be made public to mean that all the information will be disclosed.

    “The commission openly disclosed that all of this requested personal data, including social security numbers and voting history, would be made available to the public,” Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon said in a statement Friday. “I will not hand over Minnesota voters’ sensitive personal information to the commission.”

    Simon said he fears the commission “risks becoming a partisan tool to shut out millions of eligible American voters.”

    Kobach said Friday that the commission has no legal authority to compel states to hand over the information but that the Justice Department does possess such power.

    He said he could not say whether the department would become involved in the effort to obtain information from states. First, he said, the commission wants to see what information it receives from states.


    Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander mocked the fact that Kansas would not provide Social Security information. “Even Kobach thinks Kobach’s request is absurd,” said Kander, who chairs a Democratic National Committee voting rights panel that was formed in response to the president’s voter commission.

    Twitter Ads info and privacy


    Kobach has bristled at the backlash to his request from Democratic leaders.

    “They’re trying to use this as a soapbox to make some left-wing political statement,” he said.

    Bryan Lowry: 816-234-4077, @BryanLowry3


    http://www.kansascity.com/news/polit...159113369.html
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    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    That was a blunder by Kobach to ask for the last 4 digits of the Social Security number. He shouldn't have asked for that from the states, because that information should not be shared with the commission or anyone else. Now the states rightly refusing have to oppose providing it which makes the commission look like it's overreaching. Dang!! Come on Kris, do it right!!
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    MW
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    That was a blunder by Kobach to ask for the last 4 digits of the Social Security number. He shouldn't have asked for that from the states, because that information should not be shared with the commission or anyone else. Now the states rightly refusing have to oppose providing it which makes the commission look like it's overreaching. Dang!! Come on Kris, do it right!!
    No blunder because it is completely voluntary and he even said as much.

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