2016, 2018, Donald Trump, Michigan — June 30, 2017

There’s No Way Ruth Johnson Should Turn over Private Voter Information to Trump Commission

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Voting is a sacred act and for many people, it remains a private one. That will change under President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission.

The commission chaired by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Vice President Mike Pence is charged with investigating voter fraud. The problem is that this is not a widespread problem, no matter what Trump tweets. The Washington Post found four cases in the entire country for 2016. That’s out of 135 million ballots cast. And in Michigan, a state audit found no evidence of voter fraud in Detroit.

The commission has been flying under the radar. But this week, the group sent a letter to all 50 secretaries of state.

Everyone — Republicans, Democrats and independents alike — should be alarmed by the information this commission is demanding. The Chicago Tribune’s headline sums it up well: “Trump’s voter fraud commission wants voting history, party ID and address of every voter.”

But it gets even worse when you read the fine print:

The chair of Donald Trump‘s Election Integrity Commission has penned a letter to all 50 states requesting their full voter role data, including the name, address, date of birth, party affiliation, last four Social Security number digits and voting history back to 2006 of potentially every voter in the state.

And here’s the kicker: Kobach said that “any documents that are submitted to the full Commission will also be made available to the public.”

So when you went to the polls, did you expect that your name, address, date of birth, party affiliation, voting history and part of your Social Security number would be released for public consumption?

California, Kentucky, Virginia, Massachusetts and Connecticut have already rejected the commission’s intrusive request.

Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson should quickly follow suit to protect voters’ privacy and not contribute to this waste of taxpayer dollars.

Michigan’s SOS races tend to be quiet affairs, especially as nominees are picked at party conventions. But an issue like voter privacy could become explosive in next year’s open race.

UPDATE: If you’d like to weigh in on this, the number for the Michigan Secretary of State’s office is 888-SOS-MICH (888-767-6424). It is staffed Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. You can also send comments through their website HERE. You can also try the Michigan Bureau of Elections at 517-373-2540.

  • Judy Daubenmier

    I agree that this is a waste of taxpayers’ dollars, but actually, this is public information in the state of Michigan, except possibly for the last four digits of the social security number. We don’t register by party in Michigan so that’s not relevant here. But the rest of the information is part of the qualified voter file, which is FOIA-able. It’s the basis of how candidates build lists so they can contact voters.

    • Katec

      Thanks for the perspective, Judy. More than a waste of dollars, it may be unjustifiably intrusive, and I’d like to think that Michigan would also refuse the request, but it’s good to have all the facts.

    • judyms9

      Why doesn’t Kobach leave review of the rolls to the states? When he reviewed Kansas, his home state, it went like this:
      “Mr. Kobach has since declared victory in the fraud wars, claiming on Friday to have uncovered 125 illegally registered noncitizens out of 1.8 million Kansans on the voting rolls. But court documents filed in one Kansas lawsuit suggested that confusion, not fraud, was at issue in many cases. In one county where Mr. Kobach found 17 noncitizen voters, only one had cast a ballot, and five had actually self-reported their mistake to election officials. Most of Mr. Kobach’s nine fraud convictions involve people who voted in two states. Neither a citizenship requirement nor an ID would have prevented those offenses.”

      The entire article is here:
      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/05/14/us/kris-kobach-voter-fraud.html

    • teele

      This, however, varies by state. Elections are administered at the state and local level. We vote for senators and representatives of our state. We do not vote for president directly, but are actually voting for electors, again from our state. If the president wants publicly available portions of the voter records from each state, be can pay for them, and my state can feel free to ask me to opt in to sharing my name, address, and certification that they have checked my eligibility to vote in this state with anyone they like. And that will be the message I will be leaving at Ruth Johnson’s office tomorrow morning.

  • Lauren Williams

    Could you provide a number for citizens that are concerned to call and leave a comment please?

    • Leslie Csabi

      1-517-373-2540 (special election bureau number handling these calls)

    • You bet. I’ll update the post. It’s 888-SOS-MICH (888-767-6424)

  • I wonder what happened way back in 2006 that they could want that information…

    The republican party is much to deep into the fraud fraud swamp for individual members to stray now.

  • ckp2ator

    Exactly, I don’t want my info (even if public info) in some centrally controlled WH database. Also, last 4-digits of an SSN is enough to collaborate identity with other private/public sector databases. Let the WH commission go through the normal channels for getting this info, SOSs refusal to blanket hand it over is a protest of sorts; I see it as a show of lack of confidence in this administration’s intent and competency.

  • judyms9

    There’s no need for them to have birthdates and any part if an SS number. That this is being requested for a national database makes it even more insidious than just the fact that it’s being requested by someone who dumped eligible voters off the rolls in Kansas and who is heading up an unnecessary commission dreamed up by a president who can’t accept that Hillary won the popular vote. Small government, ha!

  • grannywaz

    In my opinion we need to be held accountable if there is voters fraud here in Michigan, because of the evidence that was fraud in Detroit, and they pulled out, when they figured it was the Democrats doing the fraud, and stopped it. Since we are having a Muslin, Dearborn throwing his hat in to run for Governor we have to make sure that it is done legally. Lansing has a lot to be held responsible for, given the Flint water fiasco! So trust levels are down here!

  • They would also need birth records, death records, marriage records, divorce records, legal name change records…

    What if they had asked for gun registration information? That’s valid ID for voting in some states.

  • Mark Cichewicz

    I want to call her office and tell her hands off to trump. How can I do this? I can’t find her phone number.

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