Government & Politics

After legal victory, Kobach says states will be sent new letter for voter information

Kris Kobach said states will be sent a new letter regarding voter information sought by President Donald Trump’s election integrity commission.
Kris Kobach said states will be sent a new letter regarding voter information sought by President Donald Trump’s election integrity commission.

Kris Kobach said states will be sent a new letter describing how to submit voter information following a federal court ruling this week that favored Kobach and President Donald Trump’s election integrity commission.

Kobach told The Star that he expected those instructions to be issued Tuesday.

The commission, which Kobach helps lead, had asked states to hold off from submitting the data until a judge ruled on a request for a temporary restraining order filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

“There are more than 30 states that already indicated they intended to provide this publicly available information to the commission,” Kobach said. “So I anticipate that that will start happening soon.”

At the end of June, Kobach asked every state for “publicly available” voter roll data. That information included the names of registered voters, their addresses, birthdays, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers if available, voter history and other personal information.

Bipartisan backlash and lawsuits followed Kobach’s request.

Kobach and Trump have claimed widespread voter fraud in the 2016 election that they have been unable to prove.

The Brennan Center for Justice has tracked states’ responses to Kobach’s voter information request. According to a map and research released by the center, “21 states and the District of Columbia have declined to provide data.”

Eight states have imposed conditions, according to the center, which mostly includes fee requirements. The center’s tracking also found 17 states, including Kansas and Missouri, that have said they will provide data “not shielded under state law.”

The Electronic Privacy Information Center said in its lawsuit that the data request “violates the privacy rights of millions of Americans.”

The commission scrapped an earlier method it planned to use for the data transfer in the midst of the EPIC court case. It told the judge the White House would be responsible for collecting and storing the voter roll data.

“What we do know is that it will be a highly secure method of transferring the data and protecting the data,” Kobach said.

Kobach’s comments came Monday night shortly after a federal judge ruled against the privacy group’s attempt to halt the commission from collecting the voter roll data.

“It’s pretty clear that some of the plaintiffs were attempting to put up any roadblock they could think of to stop the commission from doing its work,” Kobach said. “Now we can hopefully get down to work.”

But the judge in the EPIC court case did note in her ruling that the request for voter information is not a binding demand to the states.

“Defendants’ request for information is just that — a request — and there is no evidence that they have sought to turn the request into a demand, or to enforce the request by any means,” U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly wrote.

Hunter Woodall: 785-354-1388, @HunterMw

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