First Coast Connect: Florida Lawsuit Challenges Federal 'Voter Fraud Panel'

Public Voter Info for Election Fraud Panel Chairs Pence Kobach

Getty Images APVice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach

Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state and vice chairman of the commission, sent a letter asking officials in each state to provide personal records of voters - including name, birthdate, last four digits of Social Security numbers, party affiliation, and felony convictions. Of the 600 calls and emails the state office had received as of Monday, 96.3 percent of individuals were opposed to delivering any information, while 2.7 percent wanted to release publicly available data, and.5 percent supported providing the commission with full voter background information.

The Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), a watchdog group, and two civil liberties groups have filed lawsuits to prevent the commission from holding its first scheduled meeting next week, according to the Washington Post. That claim is conspicuously devoid of persuasive evidence.

Idaho's deputy secretary of state, Tim Hurst, said Tuesday the state will wait for further instructions from the voter fraud commission.

The panel arose after Trump charged that at least 3 million people voted illegally previous year, costing him the popular vote.

"We can not, by law, give the information to them", Merrill said, citing Alabama law that prevents the his office from turning over the sensitive data contained within Alabama's lengthy voter rolls.

"That objective is evident in the composition of the Commission, which is stacked with individuals who have endorsed the President's false statements about the popular vote, and the fact that no provisions whatsoever have been made to insulate the Commission's advice and recommendations from inappropriate influence by the person who appointed the Commission's members _ i.e., President Trump himself", the complaint continues.

FACA was enacted in 1972 to govern the behavior of federal advisory committees.

"Congress found, among other things, that committees "should be established only when they are determined to be essential" and that "Congress and the public" should be kept abreast of their activities", the 31-page complaint states.

Kobach wants to create a federal version of the Interstate Crosscheck list that he compiled and distributed to other red-state secretaries of state during the 2016 campaign.

"And certainly raises a lot of questions as to the integrity of the commission, as well as to whether or not there are sort of ulterior motives in terms of the commission's activities and works, and ultimate recommendations and findings", she added. Kobach chose to accentuate the positive by noting that "only14 states and the District of Columbia have refused the commission's information".

Some of the public uproar is more directed to the goal of this commission.

The ACLU is also asking the court to require the commission to be fairly balanced in terms of membership, points of view and functions.

"We'd like to get him stipulated on the record in a lawsuit rather than just a statement to the press that he's going to turn over only that which is public under Florida law", Simon says, "and we'd like to make sure that when he turns it over he sends it only through a secure system". They say the commission's request - if compiled into a database - could put the nation's voter rolls at risk of hacking, manipulation and other nefarious possibilities. The commission planned to charge $12,500 to Trump's commission, but it doesn't collect all the voter data the panel was seeking.

In particular, Kobach's Commission requested personal data like partial social security numbers, birth dates, military history, criminal records and driver's license numbers.

In this case, the ACLU is hoping to force the commission to be more transparent. "As decisions are made, the public should be able to see and understand and speak about those decisions and be a part of the deliberative process". But, last week in court, the commission said it would not being using the GSA but planned to use a Pentagon system as a bridge to what would be the ultimate repository for the data at the White House.

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