ACLU challenges secrecy of Kobach's election commission

Adjust Comment Print

FACA requires advisory committees to hold their substantive meetings in public with advance notice, and to make all records and reports "prepared for or by" the committee "available for public inspection".

So far, 45 states and counting have rejected at least part of the data request, or are refusing to comply altogether with this Orwellian overreach. Many governors and secretaries of state, hoping not to get burned, balked at the request.

Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens has said he sides with Ashcroft, as long as only public information is turned over.

Rotenberg said he expected the commission would permanently withdraw the plan to collect voters' data.

The ACLU also is now suing Kobach in U.S. District Court in Kansas over a state law he championed in 2011 that requires all new voters in Kansas to show documentary proof of U.S. citizenship in order to register to vote. The commission initially designated the Army site to take in records, which White House personnel had planned to then download to their own computer system.

Over the weekend, in a series of tweets President Trump appeared to propose, and then back away from, the idea of working with Russian Federation to create a "cyber security unit" to guard against election hacking. The commission did not disclose how it meant to use that data or how it would keep it secure.

Given the thinly disguised goal of the commission, the states' responses are the best way to ensure electoral integrity.

That does not include, Detzner's letter stated, driver's license information, any portions of Social Security numbers, as well as information about people such as law-enforcement officers, judges and some crime victims.

Trump became president by winning the Electoral College despite collecting almost 3 million fewer votes nationwide than his opponent. That claim has been debunked by election officials from states red and blue.

Trump's commission issued information requests to all 50 states and the D.C. on June 28, demanding that state governments turn over voter roll data, including full names of registered voters, their addresses, party affiliation, last four digits of social security numbers and voting history dating back to 2006, among other things.

Also Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed separate lawsuits asking the same judge, Kollar-Kotelly, a 1997 Clinton appointee, to find the voting panel in violation of government transparency laws.

The commission, the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, as well as vice chair Kris Kobach, Vice President Mike Pence, the Executive Office of the President, General Services Administration and Department of Defense are all named as defendants in the suit.

Almost every state in the union has balked to some extent or other at the request, which comes under the aegis of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Next week's meeting is set to be live-streamed over the Internet.

The commission is scheduled to have its first meeting later this month.

"If they are going to try to use it to identify double voters, they're going to have a really tough time", he said. Before we had voter registration, poll workers would write the names and addresses of everyone who voted in large books, and those poll books were open to public inspection.

"(T) he public disclosure of a registrant's personal information or voting history may compromise the integrity of the electoral process and may itself undermine voters' confidence in the state's electoral process and voter registration system".

Fifteen states have refused to provide the information.