Florida Democrats Join Call to Block Trump Administration's Voter Data Request

Jul 6, 2017

Florida’s Democratic lawmakers are joining the call to reject the president’s request for voter information. 

Credit Bryan Jones via flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/bwjones/albums

Florida’s state democratic senators, led by minority leader Oscar Braynon, are worried the president’s commission on elections integrity could put voters at risk. Here's a segment of the letter Braynon's office delivered to Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner's office Thursday.

The request appears to be a fishing expedition on behalf of President Trump to justify his unsubstantiated claims of 3 to 5 million illegal votes from the 2016 General Election that he Tweeted cost him the popular vote. Despite making this outrageous allegation, the President has never offered one shred of evidence to support his claim. Countless elections experts and media organizations have dismissed this claim as baseless.  

To put the requested voter information on an unsecured federal website as Commission Vice Chair Kris Kobach is asking – even though some of this information is available under the state’s public records laws – would be reckless. Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes recently described the creation of such an unsecured national voter registration database as a hacker’s dream. 

Releasing information about Florida voters for this national database, including information that may not be publicly available, is a blatant invasion of privacy and federal overreach. It also begs the question of why this data is being sought in the first place, and whether voter suppression may be the ultimate goal.

The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity wants registration data from across the country, including names, social security numbers, party affiliations and vote histories, in order to investigate alleged voter fraud.

The Florida Democratic Party and gubernatorial candidates argue the request is an invasion of privacy and could lead to voter suppression. Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum has petitioned the Secretary of State to report any possible evidence of issues or improprieties. Former Congresswoman and gubernatorial hopeful Gwen Graham characterizes the commission as "phony" and calls cooperation with the group "irresponsible". Meanwhile Orlando businessman Chris King argues voter fraud is a non-issue, and documented cases are extremely rare.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner’s office is reviewing the letter. And Governor Rick Scott is deferring to Detzner. Forty-four states have already partially or fully denied the data request.

Update: Secretary Detzner has agreed to partially comply to the request, supplying voter information that is already public record, such as name, address, date of birth and party affiliation. Florida will not provide social security numbers, driver's license numbers, or information on felony convictions.