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July 18th, 2017
WASHINGTON— As the President prepares to convene the first meeting of his Advisory Commission on Election Integrity tomorrow, Congresswoman Anna Eshoo is leading a letter with over 70 Members of Congress urging the Commission’s Vice Chair Kris Kobach to withdraw his request for voter registration data due to significant security and privacy concerns.
Eshoo’s letter highlights the substantial risk to the privacy and security of Americans if the personally identifiable information of American voters is transmitted to the federal government and stored in a central location. The request from the Commission includes requests for sensitive information criminals use to commit identity theft, including full names, dates of birth, and Social Security numbers. Eshoo’s letter highlights that sending such critical information through unsecure email and storing it in one place represents a significant security risk and creates a single point of attack for hackers.
“The Trump Administration’s request for sensitive voter registration data from every State poses a severe risk to the privacy and security of the American people,” Congresswoman Eshoo said. “The federal government has an obligation to protect the private information of Americans, but this request for personal voter data does the exact opposite. At a time when the personal information of Americans is under constant attack, requesting this sensitive information simply to satisfy a lie made up by the President to justify his loss of the popular vote is completely irresponsible and dangerous.”
“It is my duty to ensure the integrity of our elections and to protect the voting rights and privacy of California voters,” said California Secretary of State Alex Padilla. “I won’t put voters’ information at risk by complying with the President’s irresponsible and unprecedented request for personal data. Neither will a vast majority of Republican and Democratic secretaries of state who have refused part or all of the commission’s request. I commend the California Congressional delegation for rightfully requesting that the commission’s request be withdrawn.”
The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity was created by Executive Order on May 11, 2017, after President Trump claimed without evidence that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 Presidential election. A comprehensive 2014 study by the Washington Post found only 31 instances of in person voter fraud from 2000 to 2014, out of over more than one billion ballots cast. The Election Integrity Commission’s data request is currently on hold due to pending litigation alleging that the Commission failed to undertake a mandatory privacy assessment before issuing its request. To date, over 40 states have indicated that they will not fully comply with the Commission’s request for voter data.
The full text of the letter can be found here.
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