Trump has claimed, falsely, two things about the 2016 election. First, he claims that he overwhelmingly won the election. He did not. He got a majority of the votes in the electoral college but lost the popular vote by about 3 million. Second, apparently to square this discrepancy with his own squirrelly view of the world, he claimed that the popular vote was riddled with voter fraud. There is not one iota of evidence for that claim.
Now Trump has empaneled a commission to investigate voter fraud. It is co-chaired by VP Mike Pence and Chris Kobach, Kansas Attorney General. Kobach should be familiar to Arizonans. He’s the guy that helped write SB 1070. There is no equal to Kobach when it comes to voter suppression. He’s now written a letter to all 50 Secretaries of State (SoS) asking for every state’s voter information records.
Here is one video clip from last night’s Rachel Maddow Show in which Sherrilyn Ifill predicted what was coming at us in the way of voter suppression.
Trump seen hatching voter suppression plan with new fraud group. 06/30/17 09:36PM. Sherrilyn Ifill, president and director counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, talks with Rachel Maddow about why Donald Trump’s history and the people he is putting on his voter fraud commission point to a goal of suppressing voter participation. Duration 6:07.
Some states, both red and blue, are telling Trump and Kobach to take a hike - or, in the case of Mississippi, to go jump in the gulf.
New Trump voting rolls project met with rejection from states. 06/30/17 09:26PM. Rachel Maddow reports on a new initiative from the Donald Trump administration, led by Kris Kobach, to gather lots of personal data from state voting records, a request that is not being well received by state officials. Duration 6:46.
And here at home? What will our AZ SoS Michele Reagan do? Will Reagan stand up to Trump? Of course not. Howard Fischer reports on the front page of The Daily Star Arizona to give voter info to Trump fraud panel.
Trump established the commission in May, naming Kobach and Vice President Mike Pence as co-chairs. Among its duties are to find laws, rules, policies and practices that “undermine the American people’s confidence in the integrity of the voting processes used in federal elections” and “vulnerabilities” that could lead to fraudulent registration and voting.
But the choice of Kobach has led to fears the commission is being guided to a preconceived conclusion that there is massive voter fraud.
Democratic Pima County Recorder F. Ann Rodriguez had her own questions about why Kobach should get the information.
“What is the goal, what is the objective?” she asked.
Rodriguez also noted that the request, while on commission letterhead, appears to come strictly from Kobach. She questioned whether this is what the commission, or just Kobach, wants.
Here’s the answer. Trump, via Kobach, is on a hunt for the 3 million Democratic voters who denied him the popular vote.
For example, Kobach told Fox Business in January that “probably in excess of a million” people who are not citizens voted in the 2016 election and that Trump might have won the popular vote over Hillary Clinton but for “really big states like California, Texas … that have a large alien population.”
If there is a bright spot here it is that Reagan says she will not release the full database.
Reagan, like Kobach a Republican, said he won’t get everything he wants.
She said state law precludes her from giving out the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers. And the data will not include a date of birth but will give the birth year.
But the data do contain party affiliation and voting history - whether you voted and in what elections.
There are lots of reasons why this request should be refused. Wired.com weighs in with Trump wants all your voter data. What could go wrong?.
This week, the newly formed Advisory Committee on Election Integrity asked secretaries of state across the country for their complete voter rolls, including people’s political parties, voting history, the last four digits of their social security numbers, felony history, and more. The request, submitted by committee vice chair Kris Kobach, has both voting rights advocates and privacy hawks on edge. It’s not just a violation of people’s voter privacy expectations, they say, but it also sets the government up to manipulate the often messy data contained in those voter rolls to give the impression that voter fraud is widespread when it isn’t.
“There’s a never-ending amount of mischief that can be done with this data in the wrong hands,” says Myrna Perez, director of voting rights and elections at Brennan Center for Justice. “I think there’s going to be a lot of false positives about people voting when they’re ineligible.”
“Aggregating the voter rolls from many states creates a bigger privacy risk than the patchwork of state data we have today, because it creates a one-stop shop for people who want to use the data maliciously, from identity thieves to stalkers,” says Jacob Hoffman-Andrews, senior staff technologist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Today, much of the voter data housed by states is technically publicly available. But states set their own ground rules about how much information is available to the public, who can access it, what people can do with that information, and, often, how much they have to pay to get their hands on it. States can, for instance, ban commercial entities from using it to bombard their residents with ads. Some also restrict out-of-staters from accessing the data at all. However, the minute a state hands this information over to the federal government, it becomes part of the public domain, no longer subject to those state laws dictating its use.
The level of detail Kobach’s request asks for is, itself, misleading. One kind of potential voter fraud the president has worried about is people stealing the identities of dead people in order to vote. But if the committee wants to know that, it doesn’t need to know what party those people belong to. Kobach also requested the last four digits of people’s social security numbers, which could, ironically, have the inadvertent effect of exposing voters to identity fraud.
All of it would be utterly puzzling, if it weren’t for the fact that Kobach has been pursuing changes to the national voter rolls since before President Trump even took office. During the transition, he was photographed during a meeting with the president-elect with an agenda that included references to voter rolls. “The commission was founded to put a fig leaf on what are already precooked policy ideas,” says Justin Levitt, law professor at Loyola Law School and former deputy assistant attorney general in the Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division. “That was on the to do list before the committee was established.”
This appears to be a done deal in AZ, but you can still express your (I hope) opposition to what Reagan will do. Here is how to contact Michele Reagan.
Phone Numbers Main Phone Number: 602–542–4285. Toll-free in Arizona: 1–800–458–5842
Address Confidentiality Program: 602–542–1653