Kemp defends handover of voter data to Trump commission

[private]Secretary of State Brian Kemp, under fire from Democrats and voting rights groups over the release of personal voter data to an “election integrity” commission appointed by Donald Trump, says the information has long been publicly available to anyone willing to pay for it.

“Through a simple request, any individual can get a copy of the statewide voter file after paying $250,” Kemp said Friday. “During the last 18 months alone, over 600 groups have taken advantage of this service provided by our office.”

Those groups buying the voter data file include the state Republican and Democratic parties, the Atlanta Regional Commission, Emory and Harvard universities, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the New York Times, Kemp said.

Kemp has been caught up in the controversy surrounding the operations of Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, a panel he appointed to investigate unproven allegations that “millions” of people illegally voted for Hillary Clinton in the last presidential election.

The commission requested personal voter data from all 50 states, including the last four digits of each voter’s Social Security number, their party registration, their criminal record if applicable, and their voting history.

According to media reports, more than 40 states have not complied, either fully or partially, with the data request. Voting rights groups have charged that the data grab is part of a long-term voter suppression strategy.

“Now, just a little over a year after he handed out our private information unprovoked, he’s being asked by a panel of the nation’s leading voter suppression experts to willingly hand out that information once again and more,” said Democratic Party Chair DuBose Porter. “This move by the Trump administration is a blatant, partisan trick to suppress votes.”

Georgia has only partially complied with the election commission’s data request.

Kemp said the Georgia voter data released to the public does not include driver’s license numbers, social security numbers, month and day of birth, site of voter registration, phone number, or email address.

“Georgia does not ask for a voter’s political affiliation when someone registers to vote,” Kemp said. “Although voter history is public record, the only information in voter history is whether a person voted in an election.”

© 2017 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Brian Kemp , Trump election commission , voter data