ACLU: Trump voter data request too personal to release

Posted: Updated:

The ACLU of New Jersey is taking a strong stance against President Donald Trump’s request for information regarding registered voters.

The Trump administration’s voter fraud commission has requested a wide range of personal information from states, including addresses, criminal convictions, elections the voter has voted in, as well as their party affiliation. ACLU senior staff attorney Alex Shalom says that is an overreach.

“It’s still pretty creepy to have this federal body with little credibility or no credibility trying to create a massive database of who's voting in America,” Shalom says.

Commission officials say that they are simply looking to investigate if millions of people illegally voted in last year's election, as President Trump has contended.

“Whatever a person on the street can walk in and get, that what we would like,” says commission vice chairman Kris Kobach.

Some of the information requested by the commission, such as voter history and political party, is given out to the parities when candidates are campaigning. But information like the last four digits of the voter’s Social Security number is not. The commission has requested the full Social Security number of the voters.

A majority of states have said they will comply with some of the information requested. New Jersey’s Division of Elections says that it will release information that is publicly available, only if the commission follows its open records process. This means officials would have to promise that the voters’ names aren’t being used for commercial purposes, as they could be if they are posted publicly. 

“We are absolutely concerned that this is just the opening salvo in what promises to be a long and protracted fight,” Shalom says.

The commission also asked states to offer ideas for changing federal election law and for a list of convictions for election-related crimes. The deadline for the information is July 14.

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