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Texas will turn over some voter info to Trump vote “fraud” commission

I have three things to say about this:

Still the only voter ID anyone should need

Texas will hand over personal information of the state’s more than 15 million voters to President Donald Trump’s commission that is looking into voter fraud.

Secretary of State Rolando Pablos said his office will share any publicly available information with Trump’s commission as requested, including the names, addresses, dates of birth and political party affiliations. But the state will not be sharing partial social security numbers as Trump’s commission asked for because that information is not part of Texas’ voter rolls.

“The Secretary of State’s office will provide the Election Integrity Commission with public information and will protect the private information of Texas citizens while working to maintain the security and integrity of our state’s elections system,” Pablos said. “As always, my office will continue to exercise the utmost care whenever sensitive voter information is required to be released by state or federal law.”

Pablos’ comments come as governors in some states have flat out refused a request by the commission this week to hand over data.

[…]

The White House on Friday responded by questioning why states would refuse to hand over the information to the commission.

“I think that’s mostly a political stunt,” White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters in Washington.

Using an executive order, Trump on May 11 created his commission to go after what he has told Republicans was 3 million to 5 million illegal votes cast in the 2016 election — a claim that has not been verifiable.

1. Let’s be very clear that Kris Kobach is an extreme partisan hack whose primary interest is in making it harder/impossible for as many people to vote as he can. He has a long track record of doing this, along with a long track record of being extremely anti-immigrant. Other members of this travesty have similar track records. This is a star chamber whose existence is owed to a giant lie about “illegal” votes. The whole point of this exercise is to purge people off of state voter rolls, just as the Dubya Bush-era Justice Department tried to do, featuring some of the same cast of deplorables as today. There is zero legitimacy to any of this. It is all malevolent.

2. As the Texas Election Law Blog notes, the state of Texas is legally prohibited from supplying confidential information (which includes Social Security numbers and Texas drivers license numbers) to the commission. Which is nice, but it’s hardly a guarantee. For example, as Sondra Haltom reminds us:

You should know that a bill was proposed this past session (HB 3422 by Laubenberg and Fallon) that would have allowed the TX SOS to provide voters’ Social Security numbers to Kobach as part of his Kansas Interstate Voter Crosscheck (read: flawed, illegal voter purge) program. Luckily it died, but not before it got out of the House Elections Committee. Just FYI. Sleep well.

And as Glen Maxey reminds us, it could be even worse:

Two sessions ago, the Republicans passed “Crosscheck” through the Texas legislature. This was a program to send all our voter data to the state of Kansas who ran a program to cross check it to other participating states to find “duplicates”. I fought it vigorously, but it passed. That program is run by Mr. Kobach, Kansas Sec. of State.

Our SOS didn’t implement the program because there was another statute in the Government code that prohibited sending dates of birth and social security and driver’s license numbers to others.

Maxey appears to be referring to SB 795 from 2015. I’m not enough of an expert to tell you the difference between these bills. What I can tell you is that there’s nothing stopping Greg Abbott from adding an item to require compliance to this sham commission to the special session agenda.

3. Remember when Texas leaders would file a lawsuit rather than comply with anything the federal government wanted them to do? Boy, those were the days. Can you even imagine the reaction from Abbott and Patrick and Paxton if the Obama administration or (sigh) a Clinton administration had tried this? Daily Kos, the WaPo, the Trib, the NYT, NPR, and Rick Hasen have more.

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23 Comments

  1. Bill Daniels says:

    In this case, “voter fraud” would mean that we have people who are either not citizens, or dead people, or people that vote multiple times here in Texas. We’ve been told this just doesn’t happen, so what’s the problem with letting Trump’s commission determine that for themselves?

    Shouldn’t that put the urban legend that there is voter fraud in Texas to bed once and for all?

    Shouldn’t we be happy to see Trump be proven wrong, when his team discovers that ZERO legal residents are voting, that ZERO undocumented immigrants are voting, that ZERO dead people have cast absentee ballots from the hereafter, and that ZERO people from Texas have voted multiple times, in multiple jurisdictions? Why would we not want to see one of Trump’s pernicious lies be debunked….by his own people?

    The only downside I see here, is if some of that is actually true, then that mean ol’ Trump might want to pull his usual voter suppression tactics by having them arrested, then deported (in the case of any undocumented found to be registered to vote), but since we all know that doesn’t ever happen, why not let Trump get egg on his own face when this is proven to be a “nothing burger?”

  2. General Grant says:

    Because Trump will never admit it is a nothing burger. He will say whatever he wants, true or not, and some number of people will believe him. That’s his prime directive.

    If a Democratic administration requested this information, Republicans would claim it was a conspiracy to round up all the guns.

  3. voter_worker says:

    Bill, guess what? Election systems are run by human beings; therefore 100% accuracy is not likely. Why do you harbor such obvious doubts about the competency and dedication of Texas election officials and their staffs? The President has made careless allegations about the competency of dedicated offices throughout our country. They are not afraid if his so-called investigation and are very accustomed to outside scrutiny and receiving flak from the entire political spectrum. The incompetence of this commission is already evident by their ignorance of State laws and inability to guarantee security of this data. Your faith and trust is misplaced.

  4. neither here nor there says:

    Bill, I agree with you, but Texas is not 100% supportive because about 20% of Republican voters are voting from the grave, they be dead voters.

  5. Robbie Westmoreland says:

    Why would it be at all believable that there are substantial numbers of non-citizens in the registered voter rolls in Texas? Are we to believe that the party that controls the entire state government has some sort of vested interest in retaining those non-citizens as registered voters?

    How can anyone willing to pass detailed information about individual voting practices coupled with personal identifiers to the federal government for an investigation believably claim to be libertarian?

  6. Bill Daniels says:

    @Robbie:

    You know what bothered me, as a Libertarian? One year, I go renew my driver’s license and they demand my thumb prints. I’m no criminal, and didn’t serve in the military, where there’s a legitimate need for that to ID dead soldiers, and I’m not applying for a top secret clearance job. I’m just a citizen who wants to drive. Next time? Give all 10 fingerprints or take the bus. I’m also bothered by the government’s warrantless, no probable cause, listening to my phone calls, reading my faxes and e-mails, all proven by Edward Snowden. What happened with that? Clapper perjured himself under oath denying it, and then…..nothing. I have to assume that illegal spying is still going on, even under Trump.

    As to giving personal identifiers to Uncle Sam? Uncle Sam not only HAS all my personal identifiers, it issued most of them in the first place. The cat’s out of the bag already. Getting the voter names with the last 4 of the Social Security is the fastest way to confirm that the voter is indeed a citizen, and is not registered in multiple jurisdictions. Even Texas gave DL’s to the undocumented, and when you combine that with “motor voter” policies, it’s very possible that we might have undocumented, and especially green card holders who are on voter rolls. It should also be very easy to confirm that people who die are promptly removed from voter rolls.

  7. Bill Daniels says:

    @Neither:

    Then I’ll put you down as supporting this double checking of voter rolls, because it will benefit you, getting dead Pubs off the rolls and getting them to stop voting. Don’t you think those dead Republican voters are voting by absentee ballot, probably filled out by living family members? I know you want to put a stop to that. This is how we do that.

  8. Ross says:

    So Bill, how many John Smiths with last 4 of SSAN of 3872 do you think there might be?

    The Trump commission is a complete waste of time, especially checking for registration in multiple jurisdictions, since I doubt that Texas tells, for example, Illinois when someone moves.

  9. voter_worker says:

    Bill, why are you assuming that nobody is double-checking voter rolls. In your mind is it that a public office is necessarily incapable of performing the multiple tasks required to maintain the rolls? Why are you assuming that a DC commission is going to somehow perform this in a better fashion than the local and State offices do? And that’s disregarding all the other issues at work here. Why do you assume State and local offices are incompetent and/or negligent?

  10. Bill Daniels says:

    @Voter:

    I’m not saying that you aren’t fighting the good fight, doing your best to protect the integrity of the voter rolls. I’m saying, why not take advantage of outside help to confirm what a good job you are doing? Who doesn’t appreciate a pat on the back for doing a good job?

    Finally, I’ll just ask this question. If President Hillary had created the same oversight agency, would we all still be vehemently against this?

  11. Ross says:

    @Bill, I would be just as opposed if Hilary had tried the same thing.

  12. Robbie Westmoreland says:

    And so would Bill.

  13. neither here nor there says:

    Bill there are many many people registered in multiple places. If I were to move to Travis County and registered to vote there a year later I move to Bexar County and registered to vote there I would be registered to vote in three places. I can only vote in one, what I just stated is very common. There is no requirement that I notify the county that I have moved and it would be illegal to vote in Harris County if I voted else where.

    In times my name would be perched because of inaction but it takes years for that to happen.

    Texas knows that there many Republicans voting from the grave and what they and Trump do has nothing to do with that that is why they always target big Blue cities. Several lawsuits here in Harris County about removing names in the past.

  14. neither here nor there says:

    If I lived elsewhere, which is also very common. Lot of Pearland and Woodland folks vote here.

  15. voter_worker says:

    Neither, the administration of voter registration records in Texas is far more sophisticated than you are giving credit for. The Secretary of State’s Election Division utilizes TEAM (see link for brief description) to vet every single new application and update to an existing record. Your scenario of registering in multiple Texas counties is captured and corrected because your TDL/Texas ID and last four digits of your SSN are used to match records. When there is a duplicate, the new/updated information is incorporated into your record and a previous registration in another county will be cancelled. Each Texas voter has a unique state identifier (VUID) imbedded in their record apart from their local county certificate number. I’m not arguing that there is no possibility of being registered in more than one county at a time in Texas, but it’s very unlikely. In the event it did happen, every two years a new certificate, not forwardable by the USPS, is mailed to each voter. If you have moved, it’s returned to the voter registrar and the voter’s status is changed to “suspense”. If that voter takes no action to update their record, it’s automatically cancelled after two Federal election cycles. https://www.sos.state.tx.us/elections/team/index.shtml

  16. Bill Daniels says:

    How do the hundreds of thousands of Texans who don’t have a TDL or I’D card register to vote in the first place? They probably don’t have a SS card either.

  17. voter_worker says:

    You only report the SSN on the application; you don’t have to produce a card. There may be citizens without a SSN. If so I have no idea what their options are.

  18. neither here nor there says:

    Voter, that may be true, but there are many people living elsewhere that vote in previous addresses as long as they don’t update their license. I do admit that I have not kept upwith how well Texas handles those changes, Thanks for the info, but what happens when they move out of state, Trump’s daughter and his son in law are or were registered to vote in two states. There may be millions like that.

    Trump’s expert on voter fraud was registered to vote in three states.

  19. Ross says:

    Is being registered to vote in more than one place a crime? Or is it only a crime if you vote in more than one place?

  20. Bill Daniels says:

    @Voter:

    Just for grins, I looked up the application form to register to vote. You can check a box that says you don’t have a TDL, a TX ID card or a SS #, and that doesn’t disqualify someone from getting registered. I’d like to know how many people here in Texas don’t have a SS, TDL or TX ID card that are indeed registered to vote.

  21. voter_worker says:

    Bill, I’d suggest inquiring with the SOS Election Division to start with, if you want the question answered by the agency that would have the data.

  22. […] voter_worker on Texas will turn over some voter info to Trump vote “fraud” commission […]

  23. no_to_trump says:

    DT is spending “our” money foolishly on this farce only to determine in his sick mind that Hillary did NOT win the popular vote which is NEVER going to happen. Impeachment is near !!