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Saturday, 1 July 2017

State election officials pushes back against request by President Trump's voter

WASHINGTON — State election officials around the country pushed back Friday against a request by President Trump's voter fraud commission for states to hand over detailed information about their voters, including birth dates, parts of Social Security numbers and voting histories.
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, a Republican, said the state would require the commission to file a formal request and will not release personal information about voters.
The office of Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, a Republican, said lawyers are reviewing the letter to determine how the state will respond.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, right, holds a stack of papers as he meets with then ...more
Carolyn Kaster, AP
“Our priority, as we’ve demonstrated in the past, will always be to protect voter’s protected, personal information,” said Meg Casper Sunstrom, a spokeswoman for Schedler, former head of the National Association of Secretaries of State. “This includes Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden name and date of birth … Voter lists are publicly available, but only include limited information including voter history. Voter history is not how a voter cast their ballot, it’s whether they participated.”
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, also a Republican, said he hasn't received the letter yet, but he's not giving up voter information.   
"My reply would be: They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great state to launch from," he 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.”
Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted said Friday that his state will not provide the commission with the last four digits of Ohioans' Social Security numbers or their state driver's license IDs.
Husted, a Republican who is running for governor, said fraud is rare, and "We do not want any federal intervention in our state's right and responsibility to conduct elections." 
Michael Haas, administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission, said that under state law, "most of the information in Wisconsin’s voter registration system is public and is available for purchase, and is commonly purchased by political parties, candidates, researchers and other organizations." Haas pointed out that the fee is $12,500 for the statewide file, and "Wisconsin law does not contain any provision for waiving the fee for voter data.”
Connecticut Secretary of Denise Merrill, a Democrat, said Thursday that “in the spirit of transparency” the state will only provide publicly available information about voters, but not any information that is protected.
“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,” she said in a statement.
White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called the move by state officials to block the data release a “political stunt.”

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