Expert Warns Trump’s Voter Information Grab Is Illegal for a Very Surprising Reason
States continue to refuse cooperation
A ginned up commission to investigate Trump’s ‘voter fraud’ accusations may be soliciting states for voter information illegally. According to The Hill, a 1980 law called The Paperwork Reduction Act requires such queries to first allow for public comment before moving forward on such data requests. A 1995 addendum to the law extended the protection to information delivered to the public. The law also states that the request has to be justified, the use of the information has to be validated and assurances must be made to protect the data. Apparently Donald Trump assumes that can all be done in 140 characters, as evidenced by his twantrums.
Serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California – so why isn't the media reporting on this? Serious bias – big problem!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 28, 2016
I will be asking for a major investigation into VOTER FRAUD, including those registered to vote in two states, those who are illegal and….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 25, 2017
Apparently the information requests were also not channeled through the right pipeline- another requirement outlined in the law. Requests such as those made by Trump’s ‘Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity‘ must first go to the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA). It’s this sidestepping that may, in fact, constitute a violation.
So far, 44 states have individually rejected some parts or all of the commission’s request for voter rolls and demographic information. That information apparently includes voting patterns, household income, party affiliation and the partial Social Security numbers. Trump, however, in perfectly orchestrated tyrannical fashion, spins the blame and lays it squarely on the states who have shown the slightest sign of resistance.
Numerous states are refusing to give information to the very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL. What are they trying to hide?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2017
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who leads the commission, says the information being requested is information that is accessible by the public and that there is no breach of privacy. Some states, however, have declared some of the requested information to be protected as private information. State leaders have also expressed concern about the online portal used to transmit the information. Koback challenges the report that 44 states have refused to comply with the information request.
“At present, only 14 states and the District of Columbia have refused the Commission’s request for publicly available voter information.”
What he didn’t address was whether the commission had complied with the Paperwork Reduction Act. Experts don’t think the law was followed. Professor Stuart Shapiro , director of the Program in Public Policy at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University. lays out his argument for the violation in an online piece for www.theregreview.org.
“The Commission’s request letter did not include any indication that it had been submitted for review through the PRA( Paperwork Reduction Act) process. The PRA requires not only that OIRA review requests for information, but also that agencies include on any such request an approval number and an estimate of the time it will take for a respondent to provide the information requested.”
When the commission was launched in May, Vice President Mike Pence took to the podium to tout the necessity and justification of the board.
We can’t take for granted the integrity of the vote. This bipartisan commission will review ways to strengthen the integrity of elections in order to protect and preserve the principle of one person, one vote because the integrity of the vote is the foundation of our democracy.
Thankfully, resistance has come from both Republican and Democratic led states. Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hoseman, a Republican, was most eloquent in his refusal to hand over the sensitive information.
“They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico. Mississippi residents should celebrate Independence Day and our state’s right to protect the privacy of our citizens by conducting our own electoral process.“
So far Neither The White House nor the Commission has responded to requests about the issue of noncompliance. The attempt to collect lists on voter rolls and the information requested seems eerily familiar to many who have studied the origins of dictatorships and totalitarian rule throughout modern history. Blacklists, book burning and racial and religious eradication come to mind. Let’s hope we’re being paranoid.
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images
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Bruno Moore is a 2 time Democratic candidate for Florida State Senate. With a background in broadcasting he became most well known for his signature style of traffic reporting in South Florida before getting into politics in 2012. Between them he and his wife Megan have 5 children.