Va. Dem calls on Pence to rescind voter data directive

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Washington, July 11, 2017 | comments
Olivia Beavers

Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) called on Vice President Pence in a letter Tuesday to rescind President Trump's voter data directive that he says “is a thinly veiled effort to carry out voter suppression on a national scale."

"I write to urge you, in your capacity as chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, to rescind the Commission’s directive for sensitive voter data," Connolly wrote in the letter to Pence, who serves as chairman.

The Virginia lawmaker argued that the directive runs the risk of compromising sensitive voter information, which could both violate the law and lead to a purging of voter rolls in elections.

“This extensive order risks compromising the privacy of millions of Americans’ personal information, potentially violates several federal statutes, paves the way for illegal purging of voter rolls, and is based on false claims made by President Trump and members of his administration."

Trump created the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in May with an executive order after making the baseless claim that there were millions of illegally cast votes for his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, who won the popular vote in November.

Last month, vice chair of the commission Kris Kobach sent letters to the secretaries of state of all 50 states and the District of Columbia requesting information about voters, including party registration and Social Security numbers, with many refusing to cooperate.

“Of additional concern is that the Commission’s directive is potentially in violation of several federal statutes that mandate certain protective processes around the sharing of personal information. Congress will not allow this Commission to disregard existing policies and laws enacted to protect personal information,” Connolly wrote in his letter.

He urged states to "not comply" with this request.

The Democratic lawmaker said Trump's allegations of voter fraud are "false," and that the real crime in the election was Russia's interference.

“President Trump and Vice Chair Kobach have each made false accusations of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 U.S. presidential election,” Connolly wrote in part. “The truth is that Russian President Vladimir Putin directed a massive interference campaign to influence the election in President Trump’s favor."
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