Voting Integrity Commission Faces Nationwide Blowback, Including From Utah
Utah’s Lieutenant Governor announced he will not give away private voter info to the Trump Administration and he's not the only state leader in the U.S. questioning the request.
Last week, Trump’s commission on election integrity wrote to all 50 states requesting sensitive voter data to investigate fraudulent voting.
Now, nearly every state has refused to provide voter’s birth dates, party affiliation and even the last four of their social security numbers, among other items.
“While there have been allegations of mass voter fraud, there has been no evidence presented of mass voter fraud and certainly none in the state of Utah,” said Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox.
An initial critic of Trump’s claim that widespread voting fraud cost him the popular vote, Cox said he’s unwilling to release anything that isn’t already public.
“So, first and foremost, the decision is to protect the private data of voters of the state of Utah and that was very easy,” he said. “I don’t feel comfortable releasing the last four digits of socials security numbers, driver license numbers, birth dates and e-mail address; all of that we consider protected information and did not feel like there was any compelling reason to release that data.”
Marina Lowe, an attorney with the ACLU of Utah, is skeptical of the commission’s need for the data.
“Seeking this information, oftentimes very private information, isn’t the appropriate role for the federal government,” Lowe said. “States regularly are in charge of running their elections and ensuring that only people who are entitled to the vote are actually voting.”
Lowe has questions about the history of some of the commission’s officials.
“The vice chair of this commission, Chris Kobach, is the secretary of state for Kansas and is an individual who has, time-and-time again, tried to put in place measures which result in voter suppression,” she said. “We’ve seen this in his home state of Kansas and the ACLU has sued him on a number of occasions and been successful in those law suits.”
On Wednesday, Kobach responded to criticisms from both sides of the aisle in a statement issued by the White House downplaying the number of states who’ve chosen not to comply and labeling any sources reporting otherwise as “fake news.”