July 6, 2017

Republican state claims of not releasing voter data prove false

Greg Palast, Progressive - Election officials in forty-four states say they will refuse to comply with the June 28 written request from Kovach, whose advisory commission was created in May by Trump via executive order. Trump has made repeated and so-far unsubstantiated claims that millions voted illegally in the 2016 election.

“The President’s Commission has quickly politicized its work by asking states for an incredible amount of voter data that I have, time and time again, refused to release,” said Louisiana’s Secretary of State Tom Schedler.

To the contrary, Schedler and voting officials from fifteen other Republican states, the majority of those allegedly “resisting” Kobach’s demand, have already shared detailed voter files with Kobach in his capacity as Secretary of State of Kansas.

Records obtained by The Progressive from the Kansas Secretary of State office showed that Schedler turned over nearly three million voter files to Kobach earlier this year, including voter birthdates and Social Security information.

Mississippi ... turned over the state’s entire voter rolls to Kobach, some 2,092,886 files. Each file includes voter names, last four digits of their social security numbers, voting address, and voting history.

Kobach, who has recently announced his candidacy for Governor of Kansas, has indicated the lists will be used to remove illegal voters. But voting rights advocates say the goal is actually to allow fewer people to vote.

Voter lists from Mississippi, and twenty-seven other states, were turned over to Kobach beginning years ago as part of a voter-list purge program called "Interstate Crosscheck," Hunter explains. The list aims to identify Americans registered in more than one state and intending to vote twice in one election, which is a crime. Any names identified as potential double-voters receives a postcard which, if unanswered, could lead to removal from the rolls.

According to a Rolling Stone analysis of data obtained from states participating in Interstate Crosscheck, as many as 1.1 million names were purged from voter rolls before the 2016 election.

According to database expert Mark Swedlund, an astonishing one in six Hispanics and one in nine African-Americans are on Kobach’s “potential double registered” list of seven million suspects in the twenty-eight states. 

Swedlund calls Kobach’s approach a “simplistic, childish” matching algorithm. He says, “If your name is Jose Hernandez, you’re likely suspected of voting in 28 states!”

Indeed, in Virginia, at least 12 percent of voters on Kobach’s list lost their votes before the last election.

Virginia has purged tens of thousands of voters from the state’s rolls using the Crosscheck suspect list.

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