Texas to give public voting info to president’s election integrity commission

Voting line at UT campus around 8 p.m. on Super Tuesday. (KXAN Photo/Chris Nelson)
Voting line at UT campus around 8 p.m. on Super Tuesday. (KXAN Photo/Chris Nelson)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Secretary of State’s Office is sending millions of Texas names, dates of birth and voting history to a special commission organized by President Donald Trump.

Secretary of State Rolando Pablos will not, however, give the commission the last four digits of voter’s social security numbers.

“The Secretary of State’s office will provide the Election Integrity Commission with public information and will protect the private information of Texas citizens while working to maintain the security and integrity of our state’s elections system. As always, my office will continue to exercise the utmost care whenever sensitive voter information is required to be released by state or federal law,” wrote Secretary Pablos in a statement.

Per Texas law, social security numbers are not public information.

This is the response to a recent presidential commission beginning its investigation of voter fraud. After President Trump won the electoral college, but lost the popular vote in the 2016 November election, he claimed — without further proof — that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally.

He then tapped the Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, to head the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

Texas Republican Party Chairman James Dickey supports taking a nation wide look at voting problems, especially as a Dallas investigation looks into hundreds of fraudulent mail-in ballots.

“You multiply that by a couple hundred counties and you multiply that by 50 states, it adds up to a pretty significant number,” Chairman Dickey told KXAN.

Opposition 

Glen Maxey, with the Texas Democratic Party, is thankful the state isn’t including social security numbers but worries that will make this a fool’s errand.

“Just in Texas alone you’re going to have 500 John Smith’s with the same birth date,” said Maxey, “you have to have much more data.”

He joins State Rep. Celia Israel, D-Austin, in asking Texas not to send the data because the man behind this effort, Kobach, was fined $1,000 for misleading a court involving voter information.

“Last week’s decision by a federal judge to fine Mr. Kobach for ‘patently misrepresenting the court’ only increases my concern about the lack of transparency in this request,” wrote Rep. Israel.

Maxey added, “He’s been doing these kind of programs and has a huge, disgusting record on voter suppression.”

Chairman Dickey disagrees with the notion that this information will lead to dubious deeds or overly purge voter rolls, pointing to the fact that local elections and the voting rolls are determined by county and state officials.

“There is zero chance that some data query done in DC will have any direct impact on voter rolls done in Texas,” said Dickey.

Some Republican led states do not like this request, Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann responded to the request by saying: “They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico — and Mississippi is a great state to launch from.”

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