We Say: Isn’t it all public records anyway? Probably the commission could have just assigned an aide to scour the public records posted by each state. They might have to pay a service fee.
But the liberal progressives are screaming like their toes got run over by traffic while they are crossing against the light. Sheesh. Back off and wait. Let’s all wait and see what the commission comes up with.
Republished from Dallas Morning News, by James Barragan and Lauren McGaughy, July 5, 2017. Image credit: Getty. Contributor: Donald Krebs.
Texas will release voters’ full names, addresses, dates of birth, voter history dating back to 2006 and a person’s voting status, according to the list that the office provided to The Dallas Morning News. Officials said the federal commission’s request is being treated as a public records request.
The secretary of state’s list did not quell concerns about how the information will be used. Justin Levitt, an election expert at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, said the information is protected against commercial use by state law.
But it will be publicly available once the state hands it over to the commission, which could lead to people sidestepping Texas law to gain access to voter information for commercial gains.
“If I’m someone that can really use this data to sell you something, I may not be able to get it from Texas, but I can turn around and go to the federal commission and get it from them,” Levitt said.
Last week, the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity sent a letter to all 50 states asking for detailed voter registration information. The commission requested everything from names and addresses to conviction histories, military service records and partial Social Security numbers.
At least 44 states had refused to provide certain types of voter information to the federal government as of Wednesday, according to CNN, which asked top officials in all states and Washington, D.C., whether they would comply with the request.
Trump formed the election commission after claiming millions of people voted illegally in last year’s election. The claim, as well as his insistence that he lost the popular vote because of this alleged voter fraud, has been repeatedly debunked.
Wading through criticism that his request was too broad and threatened voter privacy, commission vice chairman and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach reiterated that he asked only for information already public under state and federal laws. Three states — Colorado, Missouri and Tennessee — have commended his inquiry.
Texas’ release of information will have some exceptions. The addresses of federal and state judges and their spouses will be withheld, as well as the addresses of victims of family violence, sexual assault and stalking who participate in the attorney general’s confidentiality program.
Dates of birth are usually withheld in public information requests if they are requested individually, but because the federal government has asked for them in a list, those will also be released.
The state does not track political affiliation. But the “voter history” request will yield information on whether a person voted early, by mail or on election day. It will not divulge who a person voted for, only whether the person voted and by which method. The political affiliation request will tell the commission what party’s primary the person voted in.
The state could turn over the information to the Trump administration as soon as the end of this week.
“The Secretary of State’s office will provide the Election Integrity Commission with public information and will protect the private information of Texas citizens while working to maintain the security and integrity of our state’s elections system,” Rolando Pablos, Texas secretary of state, said in a news release Friday. “As always, my office will continue to exercise the utmost care whenever sensitive voter information is required to be released by state or federal law.”
Levitt said Texas could deny the request on the grounds that the commission is violating federal laws, including the Privacy Act of 1974. Under that law, the federal government has to inform Congress that it is collecting information on individuals and explain why. It would also need to tell the public it was collecting the information and lay out guidelines for protecting it.
The law rarely allows for such information collection with few exceptions, Levitt said.
“Some of the information that Kobach has requested and the secretary of state has said he would release, like voter history and political party, seems squarely in the prohibitions the federal government isn’t supposed to collect,” Levitt said.
“There is absolutely no connection between political party and whether you can vote or not,” he added. “I cannot see a legitimate reason why they want it.”
Republished from Dallas Morning News. CLICK HERE to read the original.
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