Friday, July 7, 2017

Washington Post -- The Daily 202: Principled conservatives show federalism is more than a talking point by rejecting voter data requests

Kudos to principled conservatives who are refusing to participate in the fishing expedition of the commission created by Trump to bolster his absurd claim that he “won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”

It’s pushback from these Republican secretaries of state, more than any other factor, that’s imperiled the future of the “Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.”

A shout-out especially to:

1. Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler (R) who said “I denied the Obama Justice Department’s request, and I’m denying President Trump’s Commission’s request because they are both politically motivated. The release of private information creates a tremendous breach of trust with voters who work hard to protect themselves against identity fraud. … This Commission needs to understand clearly (that) disclosure of such sensitive information is more likely to diminish voter participation rather than foster it. 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.”

2. Wyoming Secretary of State Ed Murray (R), who says he won’t turn over any voter data: “Elections are the responsibility of states under the Constitution. I’m wondering if this request could lead to some federal overreach. … I have not experienced any secretary of state who has expressed any concerns or worry about fraud or some type of nefarious activity occurring that jeopardizes their respective election process.”

3. Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan (R), who called the commission a “hastily organized experiment.” “I share the concerns of many Arizonans that the Commission’s request could implicate serious privacy concerns,” she wrote in an open letter. “Centralizing sensitive voter registration information from every U.S. state is a potential target for nefarious actors who may be intent on further undermining our electoral process. … Without any explanation for how Arizona’s voter information would be safeguarded or what security protocols the Commission has put in place, I cannot in good conscience release Arizonans’ sensitive voter data for this hastily organized experiment.”

4. Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann (R), who announced even before the commission’s letter even arrived at his office that he wouldn’t comply. “They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico,” he said of Trump’s panel. “Mississippi residents should celebrate Independence Day and our State’s right to protect the privacy of our citizens by conducting our own electoral processes.”

Other Republicans have also declined to share information but without such rhetorical flourishes, from Tennessee to South Dakota and Arkansas.

At a time when Republicans in Washington seem to have the backbone of jellyfish, these state Republicans are demonstrating a politically courageous commitment to federalism.

(The number of states that won’t provide all of their voter data has now grown to at least 44.)
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann
By James Hohmann