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Reagan denies Trump commission’s request for voter data

Reagan's decision reverses the position she took last week

Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan will not turn over voter data to the Trump administration, arguing that to do so is not in the state’s best interest.

“We can’t see why turning over any of this information is going to help,” Reagan told the Arizona Capitol Times.

She said the request would also create a major cybersecurity risk.

“It’s just not wise to have all of it in one spot. That’s a hacker’s dream,” Reagan said.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the vice chair of Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, asked for various types of voter information from all 50 states in a letter last Wednesday.

Kobach is seeking voter rolls, including names, addresses, dates of birth, political party, the last four digits of Social Security numbers, voter history from 2006 onward, felony convictions, registration in other states, military status, and “overseas citizen information.”

Reagan’s office officially received the request today. After consulting with the Arizona Attorney General’s office and her own lawyers, she decided to refuse the request, saying she shares people’s wariness over “serious privacy concerns.”

Reagan

Reagan

She also said her justification for denying the request is rarely used, but the large request from Kobach’s commission is unprecedented.

In her letter to Kobach, Reagan noted that the executive order creating the commission doesn’t give it the authority to acquire and disperse sensitive information.

She said the state already diligently follows maintenance requirements for the voter list, and investigates cases of double registration, so she is “skeptical” that Arizona’s voter data would help the commission with any voter registration issues.

The public can typically access certain parts of the voter database, including names, addresses and party registration, via a records request for a fee. Political parties can access the information for free.

But Reagan said Kobach’s request isn’t normal, and centralizing voter data created a big target for those who may want to undermine U.S. elections.

Kobach said the data will help the commission to “fully analyze vulnerabilities and issues related to voter registration and voting.”

Reagan said last week that Arizona would only turn over voter information that is already a public record.

Dozens of other states have also said they will not comply with Kobach’s request.

Trump formed the election integrity commission via executive order in May and tasked it with studying voter registration and processes, then reporting to him which practices or laws affect the integrity of elections. The panel was set up to look at Trump’s repeated, unsupported claims of rampant voter fraud in the 2016 election.

adrian-fontes2

Fontes

Earlier today, Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes said he wouldn’t turn over the county’s voter rolls to the commission without major explanations or assurances from Kobach about how they would be used and shared.

Fontes said he sees no purpose to Kobach’s quest at this point, arguing that, if the commission wants to investigate fraud, it’s not clear why it would need the voter data.

The Trump administration has already claimed it has proof and evidence that millions of people voted illegally in 2016 (they didn’t), so Fontes said he doesn’t understand how the state’s voter data would aid the commission.

“It’s a fake request on a fake allegation,” he said.

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