Indiana’s top election official is refusing to release her communications with the National Association of Secretaries of State, limiting the public’s understanding of both her role and the role of NASS in squashing federal legislation to upgrade voting systems, Eric reports. Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson is fighting a public records request that could shed light on both the NASS stance in election security debates and the influence that the small community of voting technology vendors has over the organization.
“Secretary Lawson and other NASS leaders have made public statements at times that misrepresent the security threats to voting machines,” National Election Defense Coalition policy director Susan Greenhalgh, who submitted the records request, told POLITICO. “Congress and the public have a right to understand why.” In letters to Greenhalgh and a statement to POLITICO, Lawson’s office said that the records are exempt from disclosure because NASS is a private organization and some of the material is either copyrighted or classified.
The dispute over the records is ongoing, but Greenhalgh said the NEDC would sue if Lawson’s office improperly withheld documents. Other election security advocates said it was vital that Greenhalgh succeed. “Voters deserve to know what the the top advocacy organization around election legislation, NASS, is being told to do by its members,” said Jake Braun, who co-organized the DEF CON Voting Village. “We will only engender trust in elections with transparency, not a shroud of secrecy.”