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article imageOp-Ed: All 50 states receive 'lengthy request' for personal voter data

By Karen Graham     Jun 30, 2017 in Politics
Richmond - President Trump's Advisory Commission on Election Integrity sent a letter to all 50 US states on Wednesday, asking for information on individual registered voters and plans to make that data public.
People will remember that the committee to investigate voter fraud came about because of Donald Trump's claims that nearly three million unlawful votes were cast in the 2016 presidential election, causing him to lose the popular vote.
In late November, Trump Tweeted that there had been “serious voter fraud” in Virginia, according to Richmond.com, even though John Fredericks, one of Trump's key officials in the Virginia campaign said at the time that he was "unaware of any mass scale" voter fraud in the state.
However, in the investigation being conducted by Trump's "special commission," they are asking for a lot of dubious and totally unnecessary information about individual voters. This has raised the aspect of the commission being politically motivated and has raised allegations of it being akin to voter suppression.
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Jessica Huseman
The letter dated June 28 and signed by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, asks for registered voters' names, addresses, dates of birth, partial social security numbers, political party, a decade's worth of voter history, information on felony convictions, and whether they have registered in more than one state.
If that letter wasn't enough, a second letter, this one from the US Justice Department, was sent out to all the states. The DOJ asked states to reveal how they maintain their voter rolls. The commission said all voter data submitted by the states would be made public.
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Jessica Huseman
The request by the committee has gone over like a lead balloon. Experts, state governors and many of the public, in general, feel that the questions being asked are an invasion of their privacy and are unnecessarily based on a "bogus claim" of alleged voter fraud.
The data will help the commission "fully analyze vulnerabilities and issues related to voter registration and voting," vice chairman and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach wrote in the letter. And while that explanation may sound nice, The states of Virginia and California are saying they won't comply.
Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe said on Thursday he has “no intention” of giving any voter information to the Trump administration. “Virginia conducts fair, honest, and democratic elections, and there is no evidence of significant voter fraud in Virginia,” McAuliffe said in a statement.
"At best this commission was set up as a pretext to validate Donald Trump's alternative election facts, and at worst is a tool to commit large-scale voter suppression," the statement said.
Clerks tabulate ballots at a polling station just after midnight on November 8  2016 in Dixville Not...
Clerks tabulate ballots at a polling station just after midnight on November 8, 2016 in Dixville Notch, New Hampshire, the first voting to take place in the US presidential election
Alice Chiche, AFP
"California's participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud," California's Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a statement, according to CBS News.
And Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes expressed similar sentiments, reports CBS Lexington affiliate WKYT-TV. Part of the statement reads: " Kentucky will not aid a commission that is at best a waste of taxpayer money and at worst an attempt to legitimize voter suppression efforts across the country."
State officials from Minnesota and Vermont expressed their own doubts on the legitimacy of allowing voter records to be made public. But in Missouri, Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said he is happy to "offer our support in the collective effort to enhance the American people's confidence in the integrity of the system." Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, would only say that he'll provide what state law allows, according to Business Insider.
But really, folks, does the Trump administration really need to know who I or anyone else voted for over the last 10 years? Quite frankly, it is no one's business who any of us vote for. Nor does anyone need to know with which political party we are affiliated with. However, I am happy to let Mr. Trump know that I don't vote by any party affiliation, voting instead for the candidate and what he or she says they will do.
People line up to vote at an early voting polling centre in Miami  Florida  on November 3  2016
People line up to vote at an early voting polling centre in Miami, Florida, on November 3, 2016
Rhona Wise, AFP
And if you were to delve into how voter suppression is defined in the United States, what the Trump administration is attempting to do, based on this bogus claim of fraud is indeed, an attempt to suppress voters, either by wiping names off the rolls or throwing into question the legality of any election losses.
And while it may be hard for Trump followers to swallow, recent attempts and/or allegations of voter suppression have been directed at Republicans, and while most people might not care to remember, look back at recent legislation in many Southern states with GOP-heavy legislatures and you will find that voter suppression has been going on for a long time.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
More about Voter fraud, comission, voter data, Personal information, party affiliation
 
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