Numerous states have said they will not provide some or all of the information that Kobach requested.
Almost every state in the union has balked to some extent or other at the request, which comes under the aegis of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. DHS has said they notified “owners” of those systems, but in some cases those individuals might not have been state election administrators. No evidence has been asserted to support that claim.
The timing and focus of the two letters – one from the commission and the other from DOJ – has made some voter advocacy groups nervous about what the Trump administration is up to, and whether its ultimate goal is to weaken or revamp the motor voter law.
The data, according to court filings, will be stored on White House servers. Independent organizations can audit an election verifying that voters who said they voted, actually voted.
“The PRA reflects a longstanding recognition that when agencies collect information from the public, they must do it in a way that balances legitimate governmental need with the burdens such collections may impose”, said UPD and Brennan last Monday.
The Times also reports the Kobach-led committee is looking for voters’ names and party affiliations, birth dates, felony conviction records, voting histories for the past decade and the last four digits of all voters’ Social Security numbers.
President Trump created the commission by Executive Order 13799, which he signed on May 11, 2017.
These states have usually declined to release these “state-embargoed” pieces. Nor was their word from other Crosscheck-participating states they would do the same. The commission and that vice chairman, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, won’t say.
That’s not simply based on a Democratic governor’s view of a Republican administration.
Among the states that won’t be fully complying: Kansas.
“In Florida, our goal for each election is to have 100 percent participation of eligible voters with zero fraud”, Florida Secretary of State Ken Denzer stated in a letter to Kobach responding to the request.
Kobach is joined on the commission by Ken Blackwell, who in 2004, as both Ohio’s secretary of state and co-chair of its Bush II re-election campaign, tried to disenfranchise voters whose otherwise proper registrations were submitted on underweight paper.
Having the information public provides a check and balance on the process.
“I’m shocked”, Lawson said in response. “[In] Alabama, for example, it costs $20,000 to get their voter file”.
But in a political environment when the next president could be chosen by a few thousand voters in a handful of states, that could easily be enough to change the result. Millions of people with similar names risk being disqualified if Kobach, a leading proponent of the vote-fraud myth, succeeds. But some states, including Wisconsin, merely specify that the information must be used for non-commercial purposes. Thousands of candidates get this information.
“I believe that there is going to be an effort to look at the breadth of the challenges we face in the election area”, Williams said. (It should be noted that dead voters can’t actually vote.) He also said he knows of an instance of someone pleading guilty to voting in Kansas and Colorado. “It was before the voter ID law went into effect, and it continues to be very small now”.
While it may have raised concerns among some SC voters to learn that a GOP party leader was buying voter data to give to a national panel probing voter fraud, the sale of voter information by the state is not uncommon. Though the letter asked for publicly available information, it included specific items that in many states are not public, such as partial Social Security numbers. In any event, under public records law, the intentions or plans of a certain requestor are none of the state’s business.