Colorado elections head will withhold confidential data from White House commission

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett said today his office legally can't agree to a request from President Donald Trump's commission on election integrity to provide personal information about voters.

A Wednesday letter from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity gives secretaries of state about two weeks to provide about a dozen points of voter data.

The request asks for states to release voter data, including the last four digits of social security numbers, addresses, political affiliation, and voting history.

The commission was founded in May after Trump repeatedly made claims about widespread voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election. Virginia's governor said in a statement that he had "no intention of honoring this request" and that "at best, this commission was set up as a pretext to validate Donald Trump's alternative election facts".

She argued that the commission's "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". Pat McCrory's campaign and the North Carolina Republican Party based on identical names showing up on the rolls in multiple states, but elections boards rejected the protests.

Nearly immediately, a number of states led by Democrats criticized and rejected the request, with some officials calling it a politically-motivated effort to satisfy Trump's unfounded claims about rampant voter fraud during the 2016 election.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Padilla said he denied the request Thursday because it would only serve to "legitimize false claims of massive election cheating last fall".

North Dakota is the only state without voter registration, so Silrum said they wouldn't provide that data.

"State laws govern the release of voter registration information, and, at a minimum, election officials must follow those laws before releasing data".

Elections officials in states including Connecticut, Minnesota and Oklahoma said they would only turn over public information, but not sensitive private information. There's information that's publicly available. One request is from the U.S. Department of Justice - Civil Rights Division asking for "information regarding the State's procedures for compliance with statewide voter registration list maintenance provisions of the National Voter Registration Act and the Help America Vote Act".

Trump created the commission through an executive order in May. In addition to the voter information, the letter asks state officials for suggestions on improving election integrity and to share any evidence of fraud and election-related crimes in their states.

"It's a huge privacy concern", said Dale Ho, Director of the ACLU's Voting Rights Project.

The commission did not respond to a request for comment.

Vanita Gupta, head of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, torched the commission Thursday night: "Pence and Kobach are laying the groundwork for voter suppression, plain & simple", Gupta said.

Their primary questions center around what the commission will do with this information and how it will protect the data from scammers and, well, the Russian government, which has already tried to hack its way into these state voter databases.


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