Trump’s voter suppression commission hasn’t even met yet and already it’s compromising people’s privacy and causing voters to unregister. Over two weeks ago, this commission asked states for the personal information of all registered voters under the guise of “election integrity.” I refused their request.
Yesterday, I wrote an op-ed to The East Bay Times, which I’ve included below, urging the American public not to trust this commission. Everything surrounding it has indicated that its only goal is to suppress the vote.
To show how eager they are, the head of this commission, Kris Kobach sent an email to Trump’s transition team the day after the election proposing changes to the National Voter Registration Act to include more difficult requirements for voter registration. The true intent of their sham commission is clear – disenfranchise voters.
We must make it easier, not harder, for all eligible citizens to vote.
That is why I am asking you to add your name to our petition to let Trump know that you are standing up for your privacy and voting rights. Send a message to his commission that you do not trust them to protect the voting rights of all Americans.
Even before their first meeting, this commission’s actions are suppressing the vote. In Colorado, Florida, and North Carolina, voters are cancelling their voter registration so that their information isn’t sent to this commission. No voter should ever have to fear that registering to vote risks their privacy.
Every voter who cancels their registration is a victory for Trump. We cannot let this happen.
Protecting Americans’ right to vote is the only way to ensure that our government is truly accountable to the people. This commission is a threat to our democracy.
Sign our petition today — let’s show Trump, Kobach, and this commission that we see through this sham and refuse to let them suppress our vote >>
Saying no to Trump voter investigation protects the privacy rights of Californians
By California Secretary of State Alex Padilla
I read with concern the Bay Area News Group’s July 10, 2017 editorial on my decision to not send California voter information to President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission.
Election security and voting rights should not be partisan issues. Unfortunately, the Trump administration has politicized both with the creation of his sham “Election Integrity” commission. His commission’s first action was an unprecedented request for the personal information of every registered voter in America.
The basis for this request is Trump’s belief that up to 5 million illegal votes were cast last November. He invented this number after he learned that he had lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by millions of votes. Instead of focusing on Russian interference in our elections, he has chosen to target America’s voters.
California was among a handful of states he singled out as being responsible for his loss of the national popular vote in the 2016 presidential election.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is the de-facto chair of the commission. He signed the letter requesting the personal information of all U.S. voters. It was such an over-reach that Kobach himself would be in violation of Kansas law if he complied with his own request.
As a result, Kobach has retreated substantially from the letter he sent to all 50 states. First, almost immediately after sending his letter, he conceded that compliance is voluntary, after overwhelming push-back from both Republican and Democratic secretaries of state. Second, he was forced to change the method and manner of data transmission in response to various legal challenges.
To make matters worse, he now asserts that voter data will be stored on White House computers. Third, he suspended the commission’s receipt of voter data while the court considers a legal challenge by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. By any measure, this commission is off to a very bad start.
I oppose the commission not just because the commission has demonstrated it is ill-equipped to handle sensitive data. More importantly, I know that its commissioners — specifically, Adams, Blackwell, Kobach and von Spakofsky — have spent their tenures as secretaries of state and Department of Justice voting section officials advancing policies that suppress the vote. I do not trust this commission with the personal data of Californians and how they would use it.
The vice president’s office has suggested that state voter data will be compared against federal databases in an attempt to root-out ineligible voters on the rolls.
Elections and data experts have already warned that comparing records in this manner will only lead to a plethora of false-positives and unfairly disenfranchise American citizens. California should not be party to the commission’s efforts to distort the truth and create fear of unproven voter fraud in an attempt to make it harder for eligible citizens to vote.
California Elections Code places specific limits on what voter information can or cannot be shared. It also places limits on how that information may or may not be used. I intend to do all I can to protect the privacy of voters.
As California’s chief elections official, my opposition to this commission is based on the profound harm to our nation’s voting rights that would inevitably result if I, and others, do not stand up and say “no.” I cannot in good conscience send the personal data of California voters to Trump’s commission.
On Wednesday, Trump’s commission will meet for the first time. After that meeting, we’ll learn more about Trump’s radical voter suppression agenda. I know that if we work together we can protect our democracy against these attacks.
Thank you everything,
Secretary of State, California