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Monday, July 3, 2017

Louisiana Sec. of State won't comply with voter info request

Posted By on Mon, Jul 3, 2017 at 2:15 PM

click to enlarge Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler.
  • Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler.
Louisiana joins a growing number of officials across the U.S. refusing to submit detailed voter information to a commission assembled by President Donald Trump.

In a letter from a presidential commission on "election integrity" sent to secretaries of state last week, commission vice-chair Kris Kobach asked states to submit a list of all voter names, addresses, party affiliations, dates of birth, the last four digits of social security numbers, and voting history. Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler's office said staff and attorneys were reviewing the request. Today, Schedler said he doesn't intend to release that information.

"He bases his decision on a long-standing, consistent belief that voter’s private information including social security number, mother’s maiden name and date of birth should be vigorously protected by states," according to a statement from Schedler's office.

“The President’s Commission has quickly politicized its work by asking states for an incredible amount of voter data that I have, time and time again, refused to release,” Schedler said in a statement to Gambit. “My response to the Commission is, you're not going to play politics with Louisiana’s voter data, and if you are, then you can purchase the limited public information available by law, to any candidate running for office. That’s it.”
Schedler said releasing voter data “creates a tremendous breach of trust with voters who work hard to protect themselves against identity fraud. That’s why it is protected by six federal laws and two state laws."

"This Commission needs to understand clearly, disclosure of such sensitive information is more likely to diminish voter participation rather than foster it," he said. "I have been fighting this kind of federal intrusion and overreach, and will continue to fight like hell for the people who trust me with the integrity of our election process."

Schedler, a Republican, joins a growing number of Republicans and Democrats across the U.S. opposing the commission's request, which critics argue could lead to voter disenfranchisement and voter suppression, or a scuttle of the "motor voter" law in the National Voter Registration Act allowing people to register to vote through public agencies and programs. The commission purports to investigate voter fraud, which numerous studies confirm has not happened on the scales of "millions" as the Trump administration has suggested.

Over the weekend on Twitter, Trump asked states refusing to submit data, "What are they trying to hide?"
Mississippi's Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said last week that he had not yet received the letter, but said the commission should "jump in the Gulf of Mexico."

"Mississippi residents should celebrate Independence Day and our State’s right to protect the privacy of our citizens by conducting our own electoral processes," Hosemann said.

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