While Donald Trump busied himself pestering his followers and the media with more salacious comments about Morning Joe hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski, the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity sent an alarming letter to all 50 states on Wednesday. Vice chairman and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach — who inadvertently gave the press a preview of his otherwise secret immigration proposals in late November — wrote the letter, which requested “publicly available voter roll data.” While such a request is legal, depending on the state, the information included therein is quite alarming.
As CNN notes, the information requested may include “full names of registered voters, dates of birth, party registration, last four digits of Social Security numbers and voting history.” It’s important to reiterate that most of this information is publicly available, a point Kobach repeated during a Friday afternoon appearance on NPR. “This is publicly available information. It’s just the voter rolls that any person on the street can walk into a county election office and get. It’s not sensitive information at all,” he explained. “The reason we’re requesting it is to understand issues of voter registration fraud.”
Legality notwithstanding, the letter has perturbed over a dozen states, whose representatives have publicly denied the commission’s request. One of the more noticeable was Mississippi State Secretary Delbert Hosemann’s statement as reported by the Clarion-Ledger, which told the Trump administration to take a swim. “I fought in federal court to protect Mississippi voters’ rights for their privacy and won,” he said. “They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great state to launch from.”