Voting and civil rights advocates are ringing alarm bells on Thursday after it was learned that an election commission established by Donald Trump—one which critics feared from its inception would be used to suppress, not protect, voter access—had sent requests to all fifty states demanding personal and detailed information about voters.
“I certainly don’t trust the Trump Administration with that information, and people across the country should be outraged.” —Jason Kander, DNC
According to The Hill, a letter was sent from Kris Kobach, the Secretary of State in Kansas and vice chairman of Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, asking the states for “several pieces of information about voters, including their names, birthdays, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers and their voting history dating back to 2006.”
The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, a civil rights and voting protection watchdog, described the move as dangerous and called on states receiving the request not to comply.
“We fully condemn actions taken today by the President’s Election Integrity Commission seeking disclosure of data and personal information on virtually every voter across the country,” the group said in a statement. And continued:
This meritless inquisition opens the door for a misguided and ill-advised Commission to take steps to target and harass voters and could lead to purging of the voter rolls. We urge Secretaries of State who received a letter from Kris Kobach to reject this request and discourage state and local officials from participating in this Commission’s dangerous activities. Today’s action underscores the fact that the Election Integrity Commission is operating in a reckless manner and its activities threaten to have a chilling effect on minority voters.
We know that voting discrimination and voter suppression are the real threats to American democracy and we will resist the Commission’s attempt to divert federal resources and attention away from these problems.”
Jason Kander, head of the Democratic National Committee’s Commission on Protecting American Democracy from the Trump Administration, also expressed his concern about the letter, which he called “very concerning.”
“It’s obviously very concerning when the federal government is attempting to get the name, address, birth date, political party and Social Security number of every voter in the country, Kander said in the statement. “I certainly don’t trust the Trump Administration with that information, and people across the country should be outraged.”