Saturday, 18 November, 2017

Trump vote fraud panel puts extensive data request on hold

Cerabino Cerabino
Mae Harvey | 13 July, 2017, 00:27

Trump created the commission with a May executive order after asserting without proof that illegal voting by immigrants and others cost him the popular vote against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

The commission has already held an initial meeting without public notice, and it will not permit the public to attend its next meeting on July 19.

"We're just putting everything on hold", said Reid Magney, spokesman for the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

She added that she "doesn't get to pick which laws I follow and which ones I don't", but would only share information that is already available to the public. Both actions are in violation of FACA's explicit rules governing these official bodies according to the ACLU.

The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, tasked with investigating alleged voter fraud in the 2016 election, asked states in June for "publicly available voter roll data".

Mississippi's Republican secretary of state, Delbert Hosemann, responded to the request by inviting the committee to go jump in the Gulf of Mexico.

In Virginia, Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said on the day it was announced that he would not comply with the election commission's request for information, saying there was no evidence of "significant voter fraud" in the state.

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Not only would complying with such a request constitute an invasion of voters' privacy, employing state workers to amass such information would be a waste of taxpayer money. The chief election officer in each state should be told if there was or is an attempt to hack the voter registration.

Although the mainstream media has presented the withholding of data as a principled rebellion by the states against the Trump administration, the fact is that a majority of state governments are enacting their own laws aimed at voter suppression.

Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a watchdog group, has asked U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly to block the commission's data request, arguing the panel had not conducted the full privacy impact statement required by federal law for new government electronic data-collection systems.

In Wisconsin, elections officials halted plans to inform the commission how it could purchase for $12,500 its public voter data, not including Social Security numbers or birth dates. The emphatic rejections are based on concerns over federal intrusion into states' affairs and huge technical difficulties in complying, not to mention the commission's transparent goal. The files will be deleted for the time being until the court rules on the case.

Former Missouri Secretary of State Jason Kander, who heads the voting rights organization Let America Vote, said that he's heard anecdotes of voters canceling their registrations nationwide and that it's the wrong approach. "A study recently found that out of 1 billion votes cast between 2000 and 2014, there were only 31 incidences of documented voter fraud".

Kobach said the commission didn't want the case to interfere with other agencies' access to the SAFE server. They say the commission's request - if compiled into a database - could put the nation's voter rolls at risk of hacking, manipulation and other nefarious possibilities.

The lawsuit identifies four of the first six Trump appointees - New Hampshire secretary of state Bill Gardner, former OH secretary of state Ken Blackwell, commissioner of the Election Assistance Commission Christy McCormick and Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach - as having previously exaggerated voter fraud claims or having supported polices that have disenfranchised voters.

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