Russia

Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity? States Just Say No

NPR reported today,

More [than] a dozen states said Friday that they would not, or could not, give a White House commission looking into voter fraud detailed voter registration data as requested.

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Donald Trump and Kris Kobach, Vice Chair of the new Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity

The mass noncompliance elicited this from President Trump on Saturday:

The request for the voter data came in a letter Wednesday to all 50 states from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who is vice chair of the new Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The president established the commission after he alleged, without providing evidence, that as many as 5 million people voted illegally last November. The panel — headed by Vice President Pence — has been charged with looking into voting problems and recommending ways to improve public confidence in elections.

The letter asks each state to send the panel all publicly available voter registration information by July 14, including the names, addresses, birth dates, partial Social Security numbers, party affiliation, felon status and other data for every registered voter in the country.

Time magazine reports,

The hacking of state and local election databases in 2016 was more extensive than previously reported, including at least one successful attempt to alter voter information, and the theft of thousands of voter records that contain private information like partial Social Security numbers, current and former officials tell TIME….

Congressional investigators are probing whether any of this stolen private information made its way to the Trump campaign, two sources familiar with the investigations tell TIME.

“If any campaign, Trump or otherwise, used inappropriate data the questions are, How did they get it? From whom? And with what level of knowledge?” the former top Democratic staffer on the House Intelligence Committee, Michael Bahar, tells TIME. “That is a crux of the investigation.”

The Inquisitor reported June 22,

Political experts have credited the Trump campaign’s data operation for engineering his improbable Electoral College victory that resulted in Trump assuming the presidency. A Trump-connected data firm, Cambridge Analytica — a company whose principal owner is hedge-fund billionaire and Trump backer Robert Mercer — has boasted that its data provided the “secret sauce” that propelled Trump to his election victory.

Controversial Trump confidant Steve Bannon, who left his post running the “alt-right” site Breitbart to take over the Trump campaign last summer, sat on the board of Cambridge Analytica.

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Alexander Nix at the Cambridge Analytica office in New York.

Trump’s son-in-law and top adviser Jared Kushner oversaw the campaign’s data operation and said last year in an interview with Forbes Magazine that he contracted with Cambridge Analytica to provide detailed information that could directly influence voters through Facebook and other digital media, helping Trump win in swing states where Clinton appeared to hold an edge.

The Time investigation found that not only did hackers believed to be from Russia infiltrate voter databases stealing massive troves of data, in at least one proven case they actually altered voter information. But did the Russians share their stolen data with the Trump campaign or any associated organizations, such as Cambridge Analytica? That is the question Congress is now taking up.

So Congress is now investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian’s to use information stolen from voter databases to influence the last election. While this investigation is taking place, the Trump administration has actually asked all the states for additional voter information and they have provided no evidence to support their justification for the request.

The states that have refused this request for information from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity are not only justified, they are in a unique position to specify exactly why they are not providing this information.  They can argue until the congressional investigations into the Trump campaign’s use of voter information during the 2016 election are completed, they cannot be sure the information requested will be secure if it is provided.  They can advise the Trump administration to cooperate with all the requests for information from these congressional investigations and check back with them after they are completed.

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