Reiner: Vote, don’t panic over federal inquiry
Mesa County Clerk Sheila Reiner is trying to encourage voters not to panic.
Any information the state might turn over to President Donald Trump’s elections integrity commission already is a matter of public record, and is routinely seen by political operatives regardless of party affiliation.
Reiner said since it was made public earlier this month that the commission had sent letters to all 50 states asking for information on all voters, her office has received numerous calls about the matter, and requests to be removed from the voter rolls.
Secretary of State Wayne Williams was one of the few state election officials in the nation who said he would supply that information, but not everything the commission requested, such as Social Security numbers, dates of birth, driver’s license numbers and email addresses.
That request has been placed on hold because of a lawsuit filed against the president’s commission earlier this week. As a result, the commission sent follow-up letters to the states telling them not to send any information just yet.
“This request from the presidential commission has people coming out of the woodwork to become confidential voters,” Reiner said. “They are so angry and our office staff has endured a number of lectures and rants. One gentleman told me, ‘I am a Trump supporter, but to ask for my information and voting record is (expletive).’”
Reiner said that since Williams said he would supply the information — but only what Colorado law already allows — she’s received nearly 60 applications from people who want their voting records made confidential.
Under Colorado law, certain voters can have their voting records kept confidential, but that law applies only to people who are victims of certain crimes, such as domestic violence or stalking.
The law also doesn’t require voters to provide some information routinely seen on registration forms, such as telephone numbers.
The commission is asking for a laundry list of details about all American voters, including first and last names, middle names or initials, political party affiliation, voter history since 2006, and information regarding felony convictions, voter registrations in other states, military status and whether they have dual citizenship in other nations.
Reiner said she’s trying to discourage people from dropping from the voter rolls entirely, suggesting that the voters speak to area legislators about expanding the state voter confidentiality law to include more people.
As a result, only two people have withdrawn their registrations.
But while the request has angered Democrats more than anyone else, unaffiliated voters and Republicans aren’t happy either, Reiner said.
According to her records, 37 of the people who have submitted confidentiality request forms were Democrats, 11 unaffiliated and five Republican.
Reiner said many voters clearly aren’t aware that their registration information has long been available to anyone who wants to see it, including their voting history.
“During the conduct of election campaigns, candidates and political parties purchase the same public voter lists Secretary of State Williams was poised to provide to the commission,” she said.