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Trump's Voter Suppression Efforts Have Begun

Kris Kobach
Kris Kobach
Dale Ho,
Former Director,
Voting Rights Project, ACLU
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July 7, 2017

This piece originally appeared online at The New York Times.

Last Wednesday, Kris Kobach, the secretary of state of Kansas and the vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, wrote a letter to all 50 states, requesting that they send the commission the personal information of all registered voters.

This includes full names, birth dates, addresses, political affiliations, voting history and last four digits of Social Security numbers. The letter says that all documents provided to the commission will be made public.

What could possibly go wrong?

There are obvious data privacy concerns. Digital security experts have called the plan a gold mine for hackers. Mr. Kobach’s letter says the data will be held on a “secure FTP site,” but offers no details. Mr. Kobach himself appears to be backtracking, recently saying that, notwithstanding his request to other states, he will not be giving Kansas voters’ Social Security information to his own commission.

More important, it’s obvious that the commission collecting this information is intended to sell President Trump’s lie that he “won” the popular vote (once you deduct the millions of supposedly illegal votes, of course).

We know this because Mr. Kobach, the de facto head of the commission, is a champion of that lie: “I think the president-elect is absolutely correct when he says the number of illegal votes cast exceeds the popular vote margin between him and Hillary Clinton,” he told reporters last fall.

This commission is not meant to ensure that America’s voter rolls are accurate. It is meant to disenfranchise voters.

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