Colorado to send voter info. to Trump commission Monday; no evidence any withdrawals were ineligible

Colorado to send voter info. to Trump commission Monday; no evidence any withdrawals were ineligible
Posted at 12:18 PM, Jul 27, 2017

DENVER – Colorado will send the voter roll information requested by President Donald Trump’s election integrity commission over by the end of Monday, after the secretary of state’s office received a new request for the information on Wednesday.

The vice chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, said in his latest letter to Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams that the commission had addressed issues Williams and others brought up by implementing a new file transfer system for the voter roll information that will send it straight to the White House securely.

That was one of two requests made by Williams that the commission adopted. It also decided that it would not release any personally identifiable information regarding voters and will keep the registration records confidential—something Williams had also called for.

“Once the commission’s analysis is complete, the commission will dispose of the data as permitted by federal law,” Kobach’s Wednesday letter to Williams said. “The only information that will be made public are statistical conclusions drawn from the data, other general observations that may be drawn from the data, and any correspondence that you may send to the commission in response to the narrative questions enumerated in the June 28 letter.”

“Let me be clear, the commission will not release any personally identifiable information from voter registration records to the public,” Kobach continued.

Kobach was the person on the commission who on June 28 first sent the letter to all 50 U.S. secretaries of state requesting certain voter roll information from each state. But he put the request on hold the week states were supposed to return the information amid a lawsuit that has since been resolved.

Kobach’s letter also asked a series of seven questions regarding any recommended changes to election laws, administration, and voter fraud and intimidation, among other things, in each respective state.

Williams has said since the day after the request first came in that he would only send the commission what was allowable under state law: a voter’s full name, address, party affiliation and date the person registered, phone number, gender identity, birth year, and information about if a person has voted in prior elections.

The commission and Kobach had also requested two things that Colorado won’t hand over: a voter’s Social Security number and a voter’s birth date—things that aren’t public record in Colorado.

Kobach addressed this issue—which caused a stir in national media outlets, who often reported that most of the U.S. states “weren’t complying” with the request—in Wednesday’s letter as well.

“The commission recognizes that state laws differ regarding what specific voter registration information is publicly available,” he wrote.

Williams said Thursday he was pleased with the commission’s changes.

“The commission’s adoption of our requested changes with respect to securing the publicly available data represents a significant improvement over the procedures proposed initially,” he said. “As with any request we receive for public information, we must comply with Colorado law.”

Williams also addressed the wave of voters who withdrew their registrations or became confidential voters in Colorado in response to the commission’s request, saying he has seen no evidence that any of them withdrew because they weren’t eligible to vote, and urging those who did withdraw to again register.

“Clearly we wouldn’t be asking them to re-register if we didn’t believe they were eligible,” he said.

Over the three weeks between the time the commission made the request and July 17, 3,738 Colorado voters withdrew their voter registrations. Of them, 88 percent were either Democrats or unaffiliated voters.

The commission hasn’t drawn any favor with Colorado’s Democratic members of Congress, however.

Sen. Michael Bennet and Reps. Jared Polis and Diana DeGette have all sent letters to the commission balking at its request and calling for it to be scrutinized over its true motives.

Bennet said the commission should be disbanded altogether, calling the commission a “taxpayer-funded fishing expedition” that he said was “eroding trust and confidence in our democratic institutions.”

But Kobach said in Wednesday’s letter to Williams that the commission’s only motive is to enhance U.S. election integrity.

“This commission will approach all of its work without preconceived conclusions or prejudgments. The members of this bipartisan commission are interested in gathering facts and going where those facts lead,” Kobach wrote.

But many have wondered if its true motives lay elsewhere, as the commission was only formed after President Trump made extremely dubious claims that have yet to be proven that millions of people voted illegally in last year’s election.

“One has to wonder what they’re worried about,” Trump told the commission at its first meeting last week—pointing to some states that have said they won’t hand any information over.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office has maintained that there is not widespread voter fraud in Colorado, and noted only 18 convictions or pending cases since 2000 in the state.

A spokeswoman for the office said it would send over the information by the close of business Monday.