Donald Trump launched the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity on May 11, and installed Mike Pence as its Chair, and Kris Kobach as its Vice Chair and main operative. Trump’s goal for this commission is to uncover “evidence” for his claim that three million people voted illegally, and to provide a pretext for changing the law to make voting harder.
As the Commission’s first action, Kobach sent a letter to the Secretaries of State in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, asking them to compile and send extensive data on their voters. He requested not just names and addresses, but also other deeply personal information, like dates of birth, social security numbers, political party affiliation, and every election voted in dating back to 2006. (For states with partisan primaries, voting history would also include whether you voted in the Democratic primary or the Republican primary.) Kobach’s request reveals his true intent: to find illegitimate voters and remove them from the rolls.
But Kobach’s system, frankly, doesn’t work. What he’s trying to do is implement a national version of his Kansas-based interstate crosscheck system, where he compares the names in different state databases to find duplicate voters and registrations. But his system famously generates enormous numbers of false positives, so much so that states have started to withdraw from it. A national effort of this type would be incredibly expensive and unlikely to produce accurate results.
In addition, Kobach has not articulated a clear purpose for collecting so much data. With the scope of this request, Kobach is putting voters’ deeply personal data and privacy at risk. Why should we trust a commission that, within just two months of existence, has already failed to safeguard voter privacy by posting sensitive personal information, including names, addresses, and phone numbers? We need to take action.
We need you to take action now: check your state’s stance on Kobach’s data request here. If they are complying with any part of the request, contact your state election administrator — you can find their contact information here — and ask them to refuse to comply with any part of the request. Here is a script to use when you call.