Issue: The Presidential Commission on Voter Integrity is seeking voter data from all 50 states. The Commission’s stated purpose is to identify evidence of voter fraud. Studies and state officials of both parties have found no evidence of widespread voting fraud. So far, the South Carolina Electoral Commission has refused to provide the requested information. South Carolina government officials should deny the Commission access to our voter information through intermediaries. Protecting our voter data and preventing data suppression is a State responsibility.
Action: Please contact our elected officials and urge them NOT to turn over any voter data to private parties, including SC residents, whose publicly stated intention is to forward the data to an out-of-state entity, that is, to The Presidential Commission on Voter Integrity. Please refer to the elected representative list at the SIAN website: https://siansc.com/elected-reps/
Background: On May 11, 2017, President Trump signed an executive order to establish the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity (the “Commission”), which is chaired by Vice President Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. The Commission’s objective is to “study the registration and voting processes used in Federal elections.”
On or about June 28, 2017, the Commission “requested” (as it lacks the legal authority to compel) that each Secretary of State provide to the Commission the publicly- available voter roll data for [such state], including, if publicly available under the laws of the state, the full first and last names of all registrants, middle names or initials if available, addresses, dates of birth, political party (if recorded in the state), last four digits of social security number if available, voter history (elections voted in) from 2006 onward, active/inactive status, cancelled status, information regarding any felony convictions, information regarding voter registration in another state, information regarding military status, and overseas citizen information. The Commission noted that “any documents that are submitted to the full Commission will also be made available to the public.”
The Secretary of State of South Carolina refused the request under South Carolina law which, among other things, restricts disclosure of such data to SC residents only. Note that SC does not collect some of the requested data. The Chairman of the SC State Republican Committee, Drew McKissick, made a request for the voter information, and indicated publicly that he intends to convey the SC data information to the Commission.
On July 10 the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC) asked a federal district judge to block the Commission’s data request until it can be determined that the White House has established adequate protective procedures to ensure Americans’ privacy.
Also on Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed separate lawsuits requesting that the Commission be found in violation of government transparency laws. Subsequently, The Commission temporarily halted its request for state voter data.
Please visit the following websites for further information:
Brennan Center for Justice: https://www.brennancenter.org/analysis/united-protect-democracy-brennan-center-letter-omb-director-protect-states-election
League of Women Voters: http://lwv.org/content/league-joins-letter-secretaries-state-regarding-pence-kobach-commission-data-request
Script: Please make the following points when corresponding with or calling our elective representatives:
- The Commission itself is a sham; it is a thinly veiled attempt to “justify” voter suppression measures when there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
- South Carolina state government is obliged to protect the integrity of sensitive voter information for its intended use within the state as required by law. Voters must be able to hold our elected state officials accountable for securing that data, just as voters held the SC Department of Revenue accountable for the breach in its data. The South Carolina Republican party has stated explicitly that it intends to hand over this data outside of our state to a Federal commission. As reported in The Washington Post, the EPIC lawsuit alleged that the Commission’s creation of “a secret database stored in the White House” of national voter registration information posed “staggering” privacy implications and lacked legal authorization
SIAN Contact: Ava Kleinman
Email at firstname.lastname@example.org