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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 7/6/17

GOP States Send Voter Files to Kobach, While Claiming They Will "Resist" His Demand

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A national outcry followed last week's request from Kris Kobach, Vice Chair of President Donald Trump's Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, that state election officials provide him with a long list of personal information on every voter, including party affiliation, date of birth, last four digits of social security number, and more.


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Many Republican states (red) indicated to CNN that they will "resist" Kris Kobach's demand for full voter files -- but have already given him those files. Four Democratic states (blue) have made the same inaccurate claim. North Carolina's Democratic Governor last week ordered his Board of Elections not to hand over voter files to Kobach--but the Republican-controlled board had already turned over 6,745,639 voter files.

Election officials in 44 states say they will refuse to comply with the June 28 written request from Kobach, whose advisory commission was created in May by Trump via executive order. Trump has made repeated and so-far unsubstantiated claims that millions voted illegally in the 2016 election.

"They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico, and Mississippi is a great state to launch from," responded Mississippi's Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann.

"The President's Commission has quickly politicized its work by asking states for an incredible amount of voter data that I have, time and time again, refused to release," said Louisiana's Secretary of State Tom Schedler.

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To the contrary, Schedler and voting officials from 15 other Republican states, the majority of those allegedly "resisting" Kobach's demand, have already shared detailed voter files with Kobach in his capacity as Secretary of State of Kansas.

Records obtained by The Progressive from the Kansas Secretary of State office showed that Schedler turned over nearly three million voter files to Kobach earlier this year, including voter birthdates and Social Security information.

In Mississippi, Hosemann turned over the state's entire voter rolls to Kobach, some 2,092,886 files. Each file includes voter names, last four digits of their social security numbers, voting address, and voting history.

Kobach, who has recently announced his candidacy for Governor of Kansas, has indicated the lists will be used to remove illegal voters. But voting rights advocates say the goal is actually to allow fewer people to vote.

Twenty-one states listed by CNN as refusing Kobach his demands for voter files have already turned over voter files to Kobach's office.

"The lists will almost certainly be used to...suppress the votes of citizens of color," says Dee Hunter of the newly formed Civil Rights Center. Hunter's group is part of a coalition including the ACLU, Common Cause, the NAACP of Georgia, Rev. Jesse Jackson of the Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, and other organizations calling for a halt to the expansion of Kobach's Crosscheck system.

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Voter lists from Mississippi, and 27 other states, were turned over to Kobach beginning years ago as part of a voter-list purge program called "Interstate Crosscheck," Hunter explains. The list aims to identify Americans registered in more than one state and intending to vote twice in one election, which is a crime. Any names identified as potential double-voters receives a postcard which, if unanswered, could lead to removal from the rolls.

According to a Rolling Stone analysis of data obtained from states participating in Interstate Crosscheck, as many as 1.1 million names were purged from voter rolls before the 2016 election.

According to database expert Mark Swedlund, an astonishing one in six Hispanics and one in nine African-Americans are on Kobach's "potential double registered" list of seven million suspects in the 28 states.

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Greg Palast's investigative reports appear in Rolling Stone, the Guardian and on BBC Television. His latest film, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, on how Donald Trump stole the 2016 election, is available on Amazon. Palast is Patron of the Trinity (more...)
 
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