National: Voter Data Request Is Illegal, Not Just Controversial | The Regulatory Review

Recently, the newly created Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity sent a letter to all fifty states asking them to submit extensive information about registered voters. The letter has created an uproar among state officials, and many have announced their intention to refuse the request. President Donald Trump has tweeted his disapproval of these state refusals. Overlooked in the controversy has been the rather obvious conclusion that, because the Commission on Election Integrity appears to have ignored the requirements of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), its request is simply illegal.

National: Why almost every state is partially or fully rebuffing Trump’s election commission | The Washington Post

Officials in nearly every state say they cannot or will not turn over all of the voter data President Trump’s voting commission is seeking, dealing what could be a serious blow to Trump’s attempts to bolster his claims that widespread fraud cost him the popular vote in November. The commission’s request for a massive amount of state-level data last week included asking for all publicly available information about voter rolls in the states, such as names of all registrants, addresses, dates of birth, partial Social Security numbers and other data. It immediately encountered criticism and opposition, with some saying it could lead to an invasion of privacy and others worrying about voter suppression. The states that won’t provide all of their voter data grew to a group of at least 44 by Wednesday, including some, such as California and Virginia, that said they would provide nothing to the commission. Others said they are hindered by state laws governing what voter information can be made public but will provide what they can.

National: Justice Department Request For State Voter Information Follows Similar Kobach Query | KCUR

Officials with the U.S. Department of Justice are asking states including Kansas for information related to the National Voter Registration Act — a move made the same day that the president’s commission on voter fraud sent a request for “publicly available voter roll data.” In a letter sent June 28, Justice Department officials requested data on how states purge registrations of people who have died or moved. The letter seeks information to confirm that states are complying with federal law and keeping voting lists updated. Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach on the same day sent requests for voter registration information to all states in his role as vice chairman of President Donald Trump’s commission on voter fraud. Numerous states have said they will not provide some or all of the information that Kobach requested.

National: This DOJ Letter May Be More Alarming Than Trump Commission’s Request For Voter Data | HuffPost

Former Department of Justice officials and voting advocates are seriously alarmed over a DOJ letter sent to states last week that they say could signal a forthcoming effort to kick people off voter rolls. This comes as national attention focuses on several states blocking a request for voter information from President Donald Trump’s commission to investigate voting fraud, which does occur, but is not a widespread problem. The DOJ sent the letter to 44 states last Wednesday, the same day the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity sent a letter controversially requesting personal voter information. The DOJ letter requests that election officials respond by detailing their compliance with a section of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), which covers 44 states and was enacted to help people register to vote, but also specifies when voters may be kicked off the rolls.  Several experts said it’s difficult not to see the DOJ letter in connection with the commission’s letter as part of a multipronged effort to restrict voting rights. 

National: ‘Worse Than What I Thought’: Voting Experts Balk At Trump Panel’s Latest Moves | TPM

From the outset, voting rights advocates warned that President Trump’s creation of a shady “elections integrity”commission would be used as cover for his bogus claims that 3-5 million people voted illegally and exacerbate overblown allegations for voter fraud.Trump himself removed any remaining doubt about the commission’s true purpose over the July 4 holiday weekend when he called it the “VOTER FRAUD PANEL.” … “It’s even worse than what I thought it would be in terms of commission’s composition and the job it’s going to do,” Rick Hasen, the UC-Irvine Law School professor who runs “Election Law blog,” told TPM Friday. “It really seems like they’re not even trying to give the veneer of bipartisanship or a serious effort.”

National: Investigators explore if Russia colluded with pro-Trump sites during US election | The Guardian

The spread of Russian-made fake news stories aimed at discrediting Hillary Clinton on social media is emerging as an important line of inquiry in multiple investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Moscow. Investigators are looking into whether Trump supporters and far-right websites coordinated with Moscow over the release of fake news, including stories implicating Clinton in murder or paedophilia, or paid to boost those stories on Facebook. The head of the Trump digital camp, Brad Parscale, has reportedly been summoned to appear before the House intelligence committee looking into Moscow’s interference in the 2016 US election. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee carrying out a parallel inquiry, has said that at least 1,000 “paid internet trolls working out of a facility in Russia” were pumping anti-Clinton fake news into social media sites during the campaign.

Editorials: Why does Trump’s voting commission want data it shouldn’t have? | David Becker/The Hill

It’s an understatement to say the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity’s request to every state for highly-sensitive personal information on every U.S. voter is raising major concerns among leaders in almost every state. … Dozens of states, from deeply blue to deeply red to everything in between, either refused to provide any personal data on voters, or agreed only to provide the minimum of what the law in their state required (usually just name, address and political party information). Incredibly, even secretaries of state that serve on this commission, including Secretaries Lawson of Indiana, Dunlap of Maine, and Gardner of New Hampshire, and Secretary Kobach himself, have refused to turn over all the information requested. And for good reason. … [A]ll these taxpayer resources are being spent to research a question to which we already know the answer – the extent to which voter fraud exists. On this point, every piece of research conducted by states both red and blue, academics, and even the Bush Department of Justice, agrees – voter fraud exists but only barely. It is extremely rare, comprising only thousandths of a percent of the total ballots cast.

Arizona: Secretary of State denies fraud commission request for personal voter information | KVOA

Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan is denying a sweeping request by a federal voter commission for registration information of all voters in Arizona. President Donald Trump created the Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in May after he claimed without evidence that 2 million to 3 million people voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election. Last week, the commission sent letters to secretaries of state of all 50 states requesting all “publicly available” information of voters including names, addresses, birth dates, party affiliation, and last four digits of Social Security numbers. … Reagan said after she received the request letter on Monday she conferred with her attorneys and decided that releasing any information to the commission would not be “in the best interests of the state.”

California: Why California denied the administration’s request for voter data | The Sacramento Bee

When a commission created by President Donald Trump to investigate voter fraud asked all 50 states last week to share the name, party affiliation, last four digits of social security number, voting history and other personal information for each of the country’s 200 million registered voters, the outcry was swift, widespread and bipartisan. More than 40 states so far have turned down the request completely or in part, citing privacy laws and concerns about how the data would be used by the Presidential Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity. The commission was established in May, following Trump’s complaints that he only lost the popular vote in the November election because there were millions of illegal voters.

Maine: Secretary of state now says Maine will not provide voter information to fraud panel | Portland Press Herald

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap has changed course and decided against releasing detailed information about every registered voter in the state to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Dunlap said he met Monday with Attorney General Janet Mills and she advised him that releasing Maine’s Central Voter Registration files to the commission would violate state laws that protect personal voter-registration data from being made public. On Friday, Dunlap had said he would provide the commission with some information that was identified as publicly available. The request, dated June 28, was made to all 50 states by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the commission’s vice chair.

Maryland: Attorney General argues Republicans not harmed in redistricting case | Baltimore Sun

Attorney General Brian E. Frosh asked a federal court Friday to dismiss a lawsuit that claims state lawmakers violated Republicans’ constitutional rights when they redrew Maryland’s congressional boundaries six years ago. The state’s response in the redistricting case — the first since the litigation forced several state Democrats to explain under oath the motivation behind Maryland’s contorted congressional districts — asserts the plaintiffs have offered no evidence voters were targeted simply because they are registered Republicans. Brought by a group of GOP voters in the 6th Congressional District, the case is one of several pending in federal courts that rely on new legal arguments to challenge the constitutionality of political gerrymandering. The Supreme Court recently agreed to hear one of those lawsuits this fall — and that litigation, which comes out of Wisconsin, could play into the Maryland suit.

Nebraska: Senators urge Gale to decline Trump’s voter information request | Lincoln Journal Star

Six state senators on Wednesday urged Secretary of State John Gale to decline to turn over personal data about registered Nebraska voters to the Trump administration. Nebraska needs to “protect the integrity of our elections and the security of our lawfully registered citizens,” they wrote Gale. “Public access to identifying information and partial Social Security numbers can lead to identity theft,” they said. “Protecting the personal and financial security of Nebraskans is important.”

Australia: Cloud infrastructure, biometric ID could be used by New South Wales’s iVote system | Computerworld

The New South Wales Electoral Commission (NSWEC) is eyeing potential changes to its iVote platform ahead of the NSW’s 2019 election. iVote offers both browser-based Internet voting and telephone voting. It was used in the 2011 and 2015 NSW state elections, and as well as in the 2017 Western Australia election and a number of by-elections. … In 2015, cyber security researchers uncovered a vulnerability in iVote that could potentially be exploited to stage man-in-the-middle attacks to subvert votes. “We found a serious security hole that exposed the browsing session both to an attack called the FREAK attack and another attack called the Logjam attack,” one of the researchers, Dr Vanessa Teague from the University of Melbourne, last year told the hearing of a NSW parliamentary inquiry.

Germany: Interior Minister is expecting Russian effort to influence election | Reuters

Germany is expecting Russia to try to influence its general election on Sept. 24, but there are no indications of which party it would seek to back, officials said on Tuesday. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said at a news conference that data stolen in 2015 in a hack of the lower house of parliament could surface in the coming weeks. Hans-Georg Maassen, the head of Germany’s domestic intelligence agency, said that while it was not known what Russia would do he suspected that Russian President Vladimir Putin would prefer a different German chancellor than Angela Merkel. It was likely that Russia had sought to influence the U.S. election and everything points to Moscow’s involvement in efforts to influence the election in France, de Maiziere said. “As a result, it cannot be excluded – and we are preparing internally – that there will be a similar effort to influence the election in Germany,” he said. Russia has denied trying to influence foreign elections.