Last Wednesday state election officials, including Nebraska’s Secretary of State John Gale received a letter requesting the list of registered voters in that state and requesting sensitive data including birth dates, partial social security information, and address. The letter came from the Presidential Advisory Committee on Election Integrity, created by President Trump to investigate voter fraud and voter suppression. Many voting rights organizations, including Nebraskans for Civic Reform, have been weary of this commission since its creation, fearful that its true aim was to pursue restrictive legislation, decreases accessibility, and suppress certain voters. The most recent letter only raises our concern.
Here’s the skinny on what info is available under Nebraska law:
- List of registered voters shall be made available for purchase for the purpose of elections, political activities, voter registration law enforcement, or jury selection.
- How it impacts you: Political parties, candidates, and nonprofits request this information to contact you about campaign activity, voter registration drives, and voter eduction and turnout efforts.
- Information provided limited to name, address, birth date, contact info (if you gave permission to share), and party affiliation.
- How it impacts you: Campaigns use party affiliation to help find supporters, use your age to target demographics for support, and all use it to mail you vote-by-mail requests and election information.
- Protections exist to protect the most vulnerable. Election officials must withhold information in the registrar designated as confidential, including the registration information of stalking and domestic abuse victims in the Address Confidentiality Program.
- How it impacts you: If you are an individual in this program your information is not shared with campaigns, political parties, or nonprofits that request the list.
Concerns with Commission
Even though some of the information requested is publicly available under Nebraska law, several red flags have been raised about the Commission’s intent and purpose for requesting it. Including:
- Kris Kobach history of introducing and pursuing voter laws in Kansas including unconstitutional voter registration laws and refusing to process federal voter registration forms
- The fact that as Kansas Secretary of State, Mr. Kobach cannot comply with his own request
- The Commission’s intention to make the information collected publicly available online
- The existence of other state coalitions and programs, like ERIC (Election Registration Information Center) that cross-check voter registrations across member states to eliminate duplications without compromising voter privacy
Secretary Gale has not responded to the letter as of Sunday, July 2nd. Contact his office, ask him to protect Nebraska voters and refuse the request of the Commission. Ask him to join respectable organizations like ERIC to improve election data and join the other 27 states refusing to jeopardize voter privacy.
For more information, check out Nebraskans for Civic Reform’sLetter to Nebraska Voters about the Voter Fraud Commission and their request for voter data.