Federal panel renews request for voter data
President Donald Trump’s election commission has renewed its request for voter information data from all 50 states, Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams said Thursday.
As a result, Williams said he would forward the same information he had agreed to after the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity issued its first controversial request earlier this month, but with some caveats.
William said he requested, and the commission agreed, to keep any information sent to them from all states, whether they be publicly available or not, in a secure manner.
“The commission’s adoption of our requested changes with respect to securing the publicly available data represents a significant improvement over the procedures proposed initially,” Williams said.
The secretary, however, reiterated that some of the data requested by the commission — dates of birth and full or partial Social Security numbers — would not be produced. Under Colorado law, such information must be kept confidential.
As he did with the first request, Williams said he would comply with Colorado law, which already allows anyone to obtain voter registration information, usually at a cost of $200 to $300. The office, however, routinely offers such information free to government entities that ask.
When the commission made its first request earlier this month, it created a groundswell of complaints and criticism from all over the nation, including from Republican and Democratic secretaries of state, some of whom said they would not send the commission any information.
The request resulted in a lawsuit filed against the commission by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which prompted the commission to ask states to delay submitting information. On Monday, a federal judge rejected imposing a temporary restraining order to block the commission from collecting information.
The request resulted in thousands of people nationwide canceling their registrations, including in Colorado.
Williams said voters needn’t worry that their information will be misused because it has already been readily available. Primarily, political parties and their consultants routinely have accessed voter records in order to target candidate campaigns.
The secretary is asking people to consider re-registering. At last count, more than 5,000 people statewide withdrew their registrations immediately after it became public that Williams was going to provide information to the commission, the preponderance of which are Democrats and unaffiliated voters.
A handful of others — also mostly Democrats and unaffiliated — signed up to become confidential voters, an option available to anyone who signs an affidavit certifying they or a family member are in danger of abuse or physical harm. That option was designed primarily to aid victims of stalking or domestic violence.