voter privacy

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National: Judges question privacy watchdog’s right to sue Trump election commission | The Washington Post

Federal judges questioned Tuesday whether privacy advocates have the right to sue President Trump’s election-integrity commission to try to block its planned collection of millions of voter records. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit seemed skeptical of the specific harm to a privacy watchdog group trying to protect voter data the commission is seeking from 50 states and the District, including individual birth dates, political affiliations and partial Social Security numbers. Judge Stephen F. Williams asserted that the commission’s powers appeared limited to requesting — not demanding — the information from states and said its “potency seems very low.” Judge Douglas H. Ginsburg suggested the commission would have access only to publicly available voter data. “Isn’t this information already public?” he asked the attorney for the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC).

Full Article: Judges question privacy watchdog’s right to sue Trump election commission - The Washington Post.

National: Appeals court skeptical of privacy-focused suit against Trump fraud panel | Politico

An appeals court gave a skeptical reception Tuesday to a lawsuit claiming that President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission violated federal law by failing to study the privacy impact of a demand for voter rolls and other personal data on millions of Americans. During oral arguments, a three-judge panel from the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals didn’t say much about the possibility that the President’s Advisory Committee on Election Integrity violated a requirement Congress created in 2002 that federal agencies conduct a “privacy impact assessment” before embarking on collection of data on individuals. Instead, the judges repeatedly questioned whether the organization pressing the suit — the Electronic Privacy Information Center — had legal standing to pursue the case.

Full Article: Appeals court skeptical of privacy-focused suit against Trump voter fraud panel - POLITICO.

Canada: Government ‘fell short’ in protecting privacy during electoral reform consultation, privacy commissioner finds | National Post

The government “fell short” and “should have been more prudent” in preventing users’ personal information from being shared with third parties as they interacted with a much-maligned online electoral reform survey, Canada’s privacy commissioner has found. MyDemocracy.ca employed third-party scripts that could disclose users’ personal information to Facebook without their consent as soon as they loaded the website, according to the commissioner’s investigation. The responsible Privy Council Office also never conducted a privacy impact assessment related to the initiative. About 360,000 people had participated in the survey in December and January. An investigation from the privacy commissioner’s office says information retrieved about individuals could lead to “a fairly accurate picture of one’s personal activities, views, opinions, and lifestyle” and “be quite revealing about an individual’s Internet-based activities.”

Full Article: Government ‘fell short’ in protecting privacy during electoral reform consultation, privacy commissioner finds | National Post.

Australia: Gay marriage vote revealed through envelope by torch | Daily Mail

A photo claiming to show how the supposedly secret same-sex marriage postal vote can be seen through the envelope created controversy online. The image appears to show a gay marriage vote form with the ‘no’ box ticked being illuminated through the envelope with a torch. The photo began circulating on social media after a concerned voter saw the image pop up on his Facebook news feed. ‘So we wasted $122 million on a survey where a torch can reveal the answer through the reply envelope it came with.’ The person who posted the photo said they would ‘be voting yes… if it will even be counted now after this stuff up’.

Texas: Election workers spied on black voters and backed white candidate in Cedar Hill, complaints say | Dallas Morning News

When Texans vote, their choices are supposed to be secret. But that wasn’t true during a racially charged City Council election in this Dallas suburb last June, according to allegations under investigation by the district attorney’s office. Workers at one polling place here openly supported a white incumbent over a black challenger, according to complaints filed with the county and state. One of the workers looked at ballots and discussed with the others how black residents had voted. The poll workers also improperly used their cellphones to urge supporters of the white candidate to come vote, according to a statement submitted to the county elections board by another poll worker, a Hispanic woman.

Full Article: Election workers spied on black voters and backed white candidate in Cedar Hill, complaints say | Elections | Dallas News.

New Hampshire: Secretary of State’s Office Examines Processes After Disclosure of Nonpublic Info on Voter Checklists | NHPR

Deputy Secretary of State Dave Scanlan says the office is reevaluating its guidance to cities and towns after “handwritten confidential, non-public information” was found in the public voter checklists of more than 40 New Hampshire communities. Scanlan said his office conducts regular training with local pollworkers covering all kinds of angles of the state’s election laws, but they could do a better job explaining what information should and should not appear on those documents when training local election workers. “We talk to them about the proper way to mark a checklist,” Scanlan said. “In the past, though, I don’t think we have been specific saying that you should not put extraneous stuff on the checklist, because it’s a public document.”

Full Article: Sec. of State's Office Examines Processes After Disclosure of Nonpublic Info on Voter Checklists | New Hampshire Public Radio.

Editorials: Trump’s Attack on Voter Privacy | The American Conservative

“In addition to winning the Electoral College in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions who voted illegally,” tweeted Donald Trump on November 27, following his win. Perhaps in an effort to prove social media blather correct, Trump has issued an executive order creating the Presidential Advisory Committee on Election Integrity. The goals of the committee include “studying vulnerabilities in the voting systems that could lead to voter fraud,” which requires collecting a large amount of personal voter information from the states. After facing serious legal pushback, even his supporters are wondering about its legitimacy. While the purity of the democratic process should be every citizen’s concern, the committee’s latest crusade, in violating privacy, has gone too far.

Full Article: Trump’s Attack on Voter Privacy | The American Conservative.

Idaho: Voters Could Opt Out Of Releasing Data Under New Bill | KBSX

In the wake of the Trump Administration requesting partial social security numbers, dates of birth and other information about registered voters across the U.S., one Idaho state lawmaker is trying to keep that information private – at least partially. Right now, anyone can ask for a copy of Idaho’s voter roll, which gives out a person’s name, address, age and voter history and more. The measure from state Rep. John Gannon (D-Boise) would allow anyone to opt out of revealing most of that data – making only their name and voting precinct visible to the public.

Full Article: Idaho Voters Could Opt Out Of Releasing Data Under New Bill | Boise State Public Radio.

New Hampshire: ACLU, state come to terms on release of voter data to Trump fraud commission | Union Leader

The Secretary of State will proceed with the release of information from voter checklists to a presidential commission on election fraud, now that a lawsuit filed by two New Hampshire lawmakers and the ACLU to stop the release has been resolved. The resolution was announced in a Nashua courtroom just as a hearing was about to get under way Monday on a request for an injunction to stop Secretary of State Bill Gardner from providing the information to the election commission. The case came down to interpretation of language within the same state statute (RSA 654), which in one part states “the information contained on the checklist of a town or city … is public information subject to (the Right to Know law),” but in another section regarding the statewide database maintained by the Secretary of State, says “The voter database shall be private and confidential and shall not be subject to (the Right to Know law).”

Full Article: ACLU, state come to terms on release of voter data to Trump election commission | New Hampshire.

National: Federal judge set to hear new challenge to Trump fraud commission Tuesday | The Washington Post

A federal judge will hear arguments Tuesday over whether a Watergate-era law prohibiting the government from collecting data on how Americans exercise their First Amendment rights bars President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission from American’s voting records. U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the District set the hearing Monday after Common Cause, a nonprofit government watchdog group, alleged that the Trump administration was violating the Privacy Act of 1974 by seeking the “quintessentially First Amendment-protected political party affiliation and voter history data” of every American. The court could rule on the request for a temporary restraining order as early as Tuesday.

Full Article: U.S. judge set to hear new challenge to Trump voter commission Tuesday.

New Hampshire: ACLU suit says voter list restrictions have roots in 2006 bill | WMUR

A court petition by the American Civil Liberties Union and two state lawmakers seeking to block the secretary of state from sending voter data to President Donald Trump’s election integrity commission cites a 2006 state law that restricts how such voter information can be disseminated. But the sponsor of that bill 11 years ago, former House Speaker William O’Brien, said Monday the legislation was not intended to keep voter information that is already available publicly from the federal government. The ACLU’s reinstated petition to block Secretary of State William Gardner from sending publicly available voter data to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, on which Gardner serves, says that in 2006, Gardner’s office supported the O’Brien-sponsored bill that restricted the use of the data.

Full Article: ACLU suit says NH voter list restrictions have roots in 2006 bill.

National: Voter Registration Data from 9 States Available for Sale on Dark Web | Dark Reading

Threat intelligence company LookingGlass Cyber Solutions says it has discovered over 40 million voter records from nine different states being traded in an underground forum for stolen credit card data and login credentials. The voter records being offered for sale include the voter’s full first, last and middle name, voter ID, birthdate, voter status, party affiliation, residential address and other details. The data belongs to voters in Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma and Washington State. Over the last two days, voter databases from at least two of the states—Arkansas and Ohio—were sold for a mere $2 each, or a total of $4 for almost 10 million voter records. That suggests financial gain is not the primary reason for the activity, according to LookingGlass. ‘Logan,’ the individual who has advertised the data and is selling it on a site called RaidForums, has hinted at possessing voter records for an additional 20 to 25 states, says Jonathan Tomek, director of threat research at LookingGlass Cyber Solutions.

Full Article: Voter Registration Data from 9 States Available for ....

National: Kris Kobach says Trump’s fraud panel will keep voter data secure. Some states aren’t buying it | Los Angeles Times

After weeks of legal battles and bipartisan pushback from top election officials nationwide, President Trump’s voter fraud commission has renewed a message for the states: It’s safe to pass along your data about voters. “Individuals’ voter registration records will be kept confidential and secure throughout the duration of the commission’s existence,” Kris Kobach, vice chairman of the commission, wrote in a letter sent late Wednesday to all 50 secretaries of state. Even so, by Thursday, much of the criticism that greeted an earlier request from the commission was repeated by election officials and activists, who have expressed concerns about privacy and have called the panel both a sham created by an insecure president and a tool to suppress votes. … The letter from Kobach is the second in less than a month requesting that secretaries of state submit voter data to the so-called Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

Full Article: Kris Kobach says Trump's voter fraud panel will keep voter data secure. Some states aren't buying it - LA Times.

Oregon: Richardson alters policy on selling voter registration lists | Portland Tribune

Secretary of State Dennis Richardson said Thursday that he plans to change the type of voter registration information that is publicly available after receiving a second request from President Trump’s election integrity commission. Richardson said the commission’s June 28 request for specific — and not all publicly available — information about Oregon voters raised privacy questions and prompted “a full legal and policy review.” He announced a new policy that covers the kind of voter registration information a political party or organization can purchase from the state. “Balancing the need for both privacy and transparency is a critical challenge in the internet age,” Richardson said.

Full Article: Pamplin Media Group - Richardson alters policy on selling voter registration lists.

Ohio: Groups Back Decision to Keep Voter Data Private | Public News Service

Voting-rights advocates are backing Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s decision to not give private voter information to President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission. The White House panel requested voter data from states as it investigates the president’s claims about fraud in the 2016 election. Husted responded by offering an online link to public-record voter information and stating that private information, such as voters’ Ohio drivers license numbers, will not be provided. Catherine Turcer, executive director of Common Cause Ohio, said it was the right move. “The commission seems bent on looking for something that doesn’t actually exist,”she said, “and asking for voter information and all sorts of information that is just truly not necessary and that they don’t have the right to have.”

Full Article: Ohio Groups Back Decision to Keep Voter Data Private / Public News Service.

National: District court refuses to block federal government voter information collection | Los Angeles Times

A federal court in Washington on Monday cleared the way for President Trump’s election commission to ask states to turn over personal voter information as part of its investigation into Trump’s claims about voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election. The U.S. District Court ruled against the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a public-interest research group that had sought a temporary restraining order to block the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The court rejected arguments that the commission’s request for certain voter data violated Americans’ privacy and that the commission did not follow constitutional proceedings. … The commission has been hit with a flurry of lawsuits since its vice chairman, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, sent a letter to state officials nationwide June 28 requesting voter information, including dates of birth, partial Social Security numbers and information about which elections voters participated in since 2006.

Full Article: District court refuses to block federal government voter information collection - LA Times.

National: Trump Election Commission: A White House Team Will Handle Voter Data | BuzzFeed

Since President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission was last in court, the commission has announced plans to dramatically alter how it plans to collect state voter information in an attempt to avoid a potential legal ruling that could require it to conduct a privacy assessment before collecting the data. The plan, more or less, is to have a few people on the White House staff conduct all of the work of the commission in order to help maintain a legal argument that the “sole function” of the commission is to advise the president. The commission is chaired by Vice President Mike Pence. On Monday, Charles Christopher Herndon, the director of White House Information Technology, laid out how limited that would be in a declaration submitted in the case brought by the Electronic Privacy Information Center. “The Executive Committee for Information Technology will have no role in this data collection process. The U.S. Digital Service (which is within the Office of Management and Budget) will also have no role, nor will any federal agency,” Herndon wrote. “The only people who will assist are a limited number of my technical staff from the White House Office of Administration.”

Full Article: Trump Election Commission: A White House Team Will Handle Voter Data.

National: White House releases sensitive personal information of voters worried about their sensitive personal information | The Washington Post

The White House on Thursday made public a trove of emails it received from voters offering comment on its Election Integrity Commission. The commission drew widespread criticism when it emerged into public view by asking for personal information, including addresses, partial social security numbers and party affiliation, on every voter in the country. It further outraged voters by planning to post that information publicly. Voters directed that outrage toward the Trump White House and the voter commission, often using profanity-laced language in the 112 pages of emails released this week. “You will open up the entire voting population to a massive amount of fraud if this data is in any way released,” one voter wrote. “Many people will get their identity stolen, which will harm the economy,” wrote another.

Full Article: White House releases sensitive personal information of voters worried about their sensitive personal information - The Washington Post.

Florida: Voters unregistering from fear of Trump voter-data panel? | Palm Beach Post

Local elections officials are trying to talk voters out of unregistering, as privacy concerns continue to mount in response to a special commission created by President Donald Trump. Fears about data breaches and identity theft — or flat-out aversion to what many perceive as a Big Brother-ish information gathering activity — continued even as a representative of the commission on Monday told state officials not to provide the voter data previously requested. Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner was among the state officials who received the missive from Andrew Kossack, the designated federal officer for the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

Full Article: Florida voters unregistering from fear of Trump voter-data panel?.

Connecticut: Trump Panel Push For Voting Data Could Lead To More Connecticut Voter Privacy Protections | Hartford Courant

The push by President Donald Trump’s anti-voter-fraud commission to get huge amounts of voter data from across the nation could have unintended consequences in Connecticut: more state protections for registered voters’ personal information. Connecticut lawmakers and election officials say they will renew efforts to restrict public release of at least some of the personal information on voters that is now on file with the state. Many Connecticut voters are unaware that their dates of birth, home addresses, party affiliation, recent history of going to the polls and sometimes even telephone numbers are public information and easily available on the Internet. “It’s basically a ready-made, identification-theft kit,” said Dan Barrett, legal director of the Connecticut branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. Many states do have broad restrictions on how voter data can be released or used, but Connecticut only protects the addresses of law enforcement personnel and some types of crime victims.

Full Article: Trump Panel Push For Voting Data Could Lead To More Connecticut Voter Privacy Protections - Hartford Courant.