Photo by Howard Fischer, For the Courier.
Originally Published: July 5, 2017 6 a.m.
PHOENIX — Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan has done an about-face and now says the state won’t provide extensive voter registration information to the Trump administration.
In a statement Monday evening, the Republican said the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity’s request raises privacy concerns.
Last Friday, Reagan said Arizona would hand over voter data to a commission looking into allegations of voter fraud. However, the state planned to withhold voters’ birth dates and Social Security numbers.
Now, Reagan said the request for extensive voter information is not in the state’s best interest.
Arizona joins a growing number of states that have balked at aiding President Donald Trump’s commission. Some other conservative states, such as Texas, say state laws only allow for partial responses.
Numerous state residents reportedly sent emails to Reagan’s office over the weekend stating their objection to her handing over voter information. “I share the concerns of many Arizonans that the Commission’s request could implicate serious privacy concerns,” Reagan said in a statement.
In a letter formally responding to the Trump administration’s request, Reagan wrote that “under normal circumstances, limited voter registration records could be provided to a member of the public upon payment of the requisite fee under Arizona law along with a statement of non-commercial use. But this appears to be no normal request.”
“Centralizing sensitive voter registration information from every U.S. state is a potential target for nefarious actors who may be intent on further undermining our electoral process,” she added. “Without any explanation how Arizona’s voter information would be safeguarded or what security protocols the Commission has put in place, I cannot in good conscience release Arizonans’ sensitive voter data for this hastily organized experiment.”
Officials in 10 states and the District of Columbia said they would not comply at all with the request. Those states are California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia.
Oklahoma, a historically red state that voted overwhelmingly for Trump, will provide nearly all the information requested, save for one bit: Social Security numbers.
“That’s not publicly available under the laws of our state,” said Bryan Dean, spokesman for the Oklahoma State Election Board.
Trump lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton but has alleged without evidence that up to 5 million people voted illegally. He created the commission in May.