The commission, which was formed to investigate allegations of voter fraud in the 2016 elections, has asked every state for voter information. A nationwide voter database could open the way to more challenges for people looking to register, which could keep eligible voters from casting ballots, said Tennant, who was West Virginia's secretary of state from 2009 to 2017. "I still remember my first voter participation meeting in which he was talking about what he was doing in Kansas to root out voter fraud", said Denise W. Merrill, the CT secretary of state.
This was the second major assault by Trump's administration on citizen privacy, the first coming when his appointees to the Federal Communications Commission announced in May they plan to rescind previous "net neutrality" rules that prohibit commercial use of customer information held by internet service providers. And they don't want federal interference.
For his part, Kobach said the presidential commission will follow the facts where they lead, and that he has no idea what, if anything, the panel will recommend. "We shouldn't feel like we've been tied to a chair and blindfolded".
Ashcroft has repeatedly said he was only providing information that is already available to the public for a $50 processing fee.
That's drawn an unusual spotlight to the gathering of the National Association of Secretaries of State, which kicked off Friday in Indianapolis and will host officials from 37 states.
Election officials also spent considerable time being briefed by federal authorities, including from the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, on cyber-security and potential attacks on the nation's election systems.
Then president-elect Donald Trump meets with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach in November 2016.
"Do I think that this is a case where there are politicians grandstanding?" He lost massively, by over 2.8 million votes, but he won the Electoral College, and thus the presidency.
Since President Trump's "election fraud" commission requested voter registration information from our Colorado Secretary of State and all other secretaries of state throughout the nation, we have received calls and emails from concerned Boulder County voters.
Over the weekend, in a series of tweets President Trump appeared to propose, and then back away from, the idea of working with Russian Federation to create a "cyber security unit" to guard against election hacking.
The ACLU also said in its complaint that the commission couldn't possibly make a fair determination about the validity of the president's claim, because numerous 15 members have publicly supported it-another violation of FACA. These states have been very protective of their right to run their elections as they see fit.
"We can also look at voter history and see how many of those two million. fraudulently, someone cast a vote in their name, after the date of death", Kobach said. Officials believe that makes it hard for hackers to have any major effect on the vote.
Does the provision of this information violate the expectation of a voter's privacy? The commission, Jackson said, "is a fraud, with the real reason to make it harder to vote", created to suppress the vote of people of color.
A privacy rights group has also taken issue with the commission's request, recently filing a lawsuit contending the commission was violating the privacy of American voters. Kobach has earned his chops in the Republican Party by alleging massive voter fraud in his own state, which didn't prove to exist.
About 10 of the states are just saying no, including Minnesota.
"The Hatch Act's central objective is to prevent federal employees from using their official position for electoral purposes", said Clarke. Yet even Kobach said his office won't provide all the requested information because Social Security numbers aren't publicly available. In a New York Times op-ed, ACLU voting rights project director Dale Ho criticizes Kobach's request for information on every registered voter.