wnol.info January 21 2018

Minnesota refuses to hand over voter information to presidential commission

January 21 2018, 12:19 | Irvin Gilbert

AP File

AP File

The Idaho Secretary of State office is reviewing a request for key points of voter data from President Donald Trump's commission investigating alleged voter fraud in the 2016 election.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach confirmed in a letter Thursday that the single objective of President Donald Trump's commission on voting is to find evidence to corroborate the president's lie that voter fraud impacted the 2016 election.

In the request, Kobach said that "any documents that are submitted to the full Commission will also be made available to the public". But he will be turning over what's public, just like he would if anyone asked, he said.

"That's perfectly fine", Kobach said Friday when asked about states that would provide names but withhold other information.

The comment is notable because Kobach has long pushed restrictive voting measures and has stoked fears of voter fraud, even though numerous investigations have found it's not a widespread problem.

"I am glad that you have a federal agency that is asking for input and information before they make decisions because so often at the federal level you have entities that doesn't ask those questions until after they've already made a preliminary or a final decision", Williams said.

Elections officials in states including Connecticut, Minnesota and Oklahoma said they would only turn over public information, but not sensitive private information. The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity says in a letter to all the states that it's studying laws, policies and practices that "enhance or undermine the American people's confidence in the integrity of federal elections processes".

"The concern is that this is going to be used to justify regressive and disenfranchising federal law", said Myrna Perez, deputy director of the Democracy Program at NYU Law School's Brennan Center.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said there is no evidence of voter fraud in the state.

Describing Kobach's questions as "neutral", Williams said he was interested in raising issues surrounding potential voter intimidation "when we move away from voting in a pristine polling place", like Colorado has done with its recent shift to almost all mail balloting. These include suits over his attempt to compare names on lists of voter rolls with Kansas state birth records to identify who is eligible to vote in the state.

"I can't imagine that anyone would be concerned about a national database", she said, noting that it would be accurate only for "a moment in time" because people move and die, among other things. Nearly all of the 508 ballots the state board said were ineligible were cast by felons, many who were confused about their voting status, according to the audit.

The vice chairman of President Trump's commission on election integrity sent a letter to all 50 states Wednesday requesting information on their voter rolls.

The letter also asks Williams a slew of questions, including whether he has any evidence of voter fraud or registration fraud in Colorado, or any suggestions for improving cyber-security - an issue that's risen to the forefront after Russia's alleged hacking of American voting systems a year ago.

However, the commission says state law doesn't permit it to release birthdates, driver license numbers or Social Security numbers except to police or other state agencies and the presidential panel doesn't qualify as either one.

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