State Politics

Florida will comply with part of Trump commission’s voter data request

President Donald Trump spoke in Miami on June 16. The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is seeking voter file data from all states.
President Donald Trump spoke in Miami on June 16. The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is seeking voter file data from all states. Al Diaz

Amid pleas from Democrats urging Florida to reject President Donald Trump’s administration to provide voter data, Florida’s election chief announced Thursday that he will comply with the data request — but only partially.

Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner said the state will provide the data that is publicly available, but will not hand over any information on voters that is not public, including driver license numbers or Social Security information.

The Presidential Advisory Commission for Voter Integrity sent a letter on June 28 to state election officials asking them to hand over voter data by July 14. The commission requested a long list of information “if publicly available under the laws of your state,” including voters’ names, registration status, political party affiliation, voting history, partial Social Security numbers and other information.

Detzner replied in a letter to the commission Thursday.

The letter sent by Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner to Kris Kobach. Florida Department of State

“We are glad to continuing following Florida’s public records law by providing the requested information to you that is publicly available. Although most of the information you’ve requested is available to the public in Florida, we cannot fully comply with your entire request,” he wrote. “Driver’s license information and Social Security numbers are not, and cannot be provided under section 97.0585, Florida statutes.”

The state will also not provide other exempt information such as voter data about law enforcement, judges or prosecutors and domestic violence victims.

Many Democratic politicians and candidates sent letters to Detzner urging him not to comply with the commission’s request.

Republican U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen also raised objections.

“In 2016, Gov. [Rick] Scott expressed optimism that our election process would be fair and, after the elections took place, there have been no allegations or evidence of voting fraud so I see no need to comply with this request,” she said in a statement to the Miami Herald through a spokesman Thursday before Detzner announced his decision.

In the letter, Detzner said state officials take their mission seriously to ensure fair elections.

“In fact, in 2016, we are proud that Florida had record turnout and a smooth, secure election which reflected the will of the people of Florida.”

In the majority of other states — including those led by Republicans and Democrats — officials have said they won’t comply with all or part of the request, CNN has reported.

Republican Mississippi’s Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann was among those who criticized the request.

“My reply would be: They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico, and Mississippi is a great state to launch from,” Hosemann said in a statement Friday. “Mississippi residents should celebrate Independence Day and our state’s right to protect the privacy of our citizens by conducting our own electoral processes.”

Detzner was appointed by Scott, a Trump ally. The elections supervisor led a controversial effort to search voter rolls for noncitizens before the 2012 election, but the state scrapped it amid errors and complaints by county election supervisors.

The letter from the commission also asks state election officials to weigh in on several questions, including whether they have any evidence about instances of voter fraud and convictions for election-related crimes since the 2000 election.

Trump has made repeated claims about massive voter fraud and election rigging, which the fact-checking website PolitiFact has debunked again and again.

PolitiFact also recently rated False a claim by Fox and Friends co-host Ainsley Earhardt, who said: “5.7 million — that’s how many illegal immigrants might have voted” in 2008. There have been some cases of noncitizens voting, but there is no evidence that it is in the millions.