December 11, 2017
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Dunlap balks at Trump fraud panel’s new request for Maine voter data

By Michael Shepherd, BDN Staff
Sipa USA | TNS | BDN
Sipa USA | TNS | BDN
President Donald Trump, left, and Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, on Nov. 20, 2016, at the clubhouse of Trump International Golf Club, in Bedminster Township, N.J.

AUGUSTA, Maine — Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap’s office said Thursday that a second request for state voting data from President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission raises concerns about the panel’s work.

The Presidential Commission on Election Integrity’s vice chairman, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, sent letters to Maine and other states on Wednesday seeking personal voter information. It’s similar to a June request to all states that was rejected by Dunlap’s office.

However, Kobach’s second request says identifiable voter information won’t be made public — only summarized — and will be deleted by the federal government when the panel is done. His first request said identifiable information would be public.

Dunlap, a Democrat who is on the commission, rejected it because Maine law mandates confidentiality. The first request was at least partially rejected by 44 states, according to CNN.

In a statement, Dunlap’s office said the new request “raises concerns” about the process because it hasn’t been discussed by the panel. The statement said he’s reviewing the request with lawyers and plans to delay a decision until the commission’s next meeting — likely in September.

“If we’re going to act as a commission, we should really be considering the entire request for data as a body, and determining what it is we’re researching and how to look for it,” Dunlap said.

The commission was formed to examine voter fraud, a Republican priority that has proven to be rare in practice. A professor at Loyola Law School in California wrote in The Washington Post in 2014 that he found 31 documented cases out of 1 billion ballots in the preceding 14 years.

Yet the president has made it a focus, saying without evidence after the 2016 election that “millions” illegally voted for Hillary Clinton, his Democratic opponent. The American Civil Liberties Union has called the commission “a boondoggle.”

The new request was prompted by a Monday federal court ruling saying the panel can continue to request voter data. But California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, a Democrat, quickly rebuffed Koback on Wednesday, calling the panel a “sham.”

 


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