Monday, July 3, 2017

Florida is 'reviewing' Trump election commission's request for voter data

Posted By on Mon, Jul 3, 2017 at 8:23 PM

State officials are "reviewing" a request for personal Florida voter information from President Donald Trump's election integrity commission, which is investigating the unsubstantiated claim that millions voted illegally in the 2016 election.

The request to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner was a letter sent to all states from Kris Kobach, the secretary of state in Kansas and vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Kobach asked Detzner to provide Florida voters' names, addresses, dates of birth, political party affiliation, last four digits of Social Security numbers and history of voting from 2006 onward.

"We have received the letter," says state department spokesperson Sarah Revell in an email. "We are reviewing it."

Revell would not give a timeline for how long the review process would take.

Democrats and other civil liberties groups say the commission is part of a larger scheme to impose stricter voting requirements that would make it harder for some people to vote. Kobach agrees with Trump's unfounded claim that he would have won the popular vote from Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton if "three to five million illegal votes" had not been casted.

Several states have objected against the request, including states led by Democratic governors like California and New York and states led by Republican governors like Maryland and Kentucky. Even Kobach himself says his state, Kansas, will not be able to comply with the entire request because some voter information is not available to the public. Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said in a statement that he hadn't received a request for voter information from the commission, but that he had fought in federal court to protect Mississippi voters’ rights for privacy.

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

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said in a statement that the disclosure requested by the commission is "prohibited by law."

"As attorney general, I take seriously my responsibility to protect the voting rights and privacy interests of Maryland citizens," Frosh said. "I find this request for the personal information of millions of Marylanders repugnant; it appears designed only to intimidate voters and to indulge President
Trump’s fantasy that he won the popular vote. Repeating incessantly a false story of expansive voter fraud, and then creating a commission to fuel that narrative, does not make it any more true. There is no evidence that the integrity of the 2016 election in Maryland - or any other state- was compromised by voter fraud."

Over the weekend, Trump pushed back against the bipartisan backlash from states on Twitter.
Gov. Rick Scott's administration remained silent Monday on whether Florida will be giving its residents' personal information to a federal commission, according to the News Service of Florida. Meanwhile, the Florida Democratic Party has called on Scott, a close Trump ally, to turn down the request.

"This commission facilitates a dangerous and false narrative that voter fraud is rampant – this is a thinly veiled attempt at justifying national voter suppression," said FDP spokesperson Johanna Cervone, according to NSF. "Every responsible elected official should reject this farce of a commission immediately."

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