Politics

Florida turns over voter-roll data to Trump election commission

President Donald Trump has asked a commission to investigate voter fraud.
President Donald Trump has asked a commission to investigate voter fraud. Miami Herald

Florida provided voter-roll data to President Donald Trump’s election-fraud commission Friday despite a lawsuit by the ACLU of Florida attempting to prevent the state from providing the information.

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner complied with the request by the commission after a federal judge in Washington, D.C., cleared the way Monday for the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to resume its effort to collect voter data from all states. U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly rejected a request by the Electronic Privacy Information Center to block the data collection.

“Today the Department of State pursuant to Florida law fulfilled the public records request that we received from the Presidential Advisory Commission,” said Sarah Revell, Detzner’s spokeswoman. “As we have said all along, we will follow Florida law and will only submit information that is already available and regularly provided to anyone who requests it.”

On June 28, the commission asked states to send publicly available voter data by July 14. Detzner agreed to provide public data, but not private data such as Social Security numbers or driver’s license information.

But on July 10, the commission asked states to hold off due to the litigation in Washington, D.C. Meanwhile, the ACLU of Florida filed a federal lawsuit in Miami seeking to stop the work of the commission and to prevent Detzner from handing over data.

After the ruling in the Washington case, Kris Kobach, vice chair of the commission and the Kansas secretary of state, wrote a letter to the states to renew the commission’s request for data.

Kobach’s July 26 letter appears to attempt to address some of the privacy concerns raised by critics by emphasizing that it is seeking public data.

“The only information that will be made public are statistical conclusions drawn from the data, other general observations that may be drawn from the data, and any correspondence that you may send to the Commission in response to the narrative questions enumerated in the June 28 letter,” he wrote. “Let me be clear, the Commission will not release any personally identifiable information from voter registration records to the public.”

Trump has said that millions voted illegally in November, a claim that Miami Herald partner PolitiFact ruled Pants on Fire.

Detzner has not indicated any evidence of widespread fraud, and in his initial response to Kobach he wrote that Florida had a “smooth, secure election.”

ACLU spokesman Baylor Johnson said its lawsuit will still proceed.

“This case isn’t just about the fact that the federal government is collecting data on voters, but also how they’re doing it,” he said. “We look forward to continuing to fight to protect people’s privacy and right to vote.”

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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