Compliance Management, Network Security

Florida makes info on 1K Kansas voters public, lawmakers ask DHS to clarify role regarding election integrity commission

Florida released partial social security numbers for close to 1,000 Kansas voters after receiving data from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach as part of the Crosscheck program that identifies double voter registration.

“It is absolutely essential,” Kobach said of the program after the calling the exposed data unfortunate, according to a report by The Kansas City Star. “The Crosscheck provides the first piece of evidence that a person may have voted twice.”

Kobach, who most recently co-chaired, along with Vice President Mike Pence, the now-defunct President's Commission on Election Integrity, said “if the Crosscheck program were to go away, then we would be unable to catch virtually all of the double voters,” of which, he claimed, “there are thousands” nationwide.

The Kansas AG, who is running for governor, was tapped by President Trump last year to investigate voter fraud after he lost the popular vote in the presidential election by nearly three million votes to his rival, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The commission was disbanded in early January after it faced resistance from states fearing privacy concerns and voter suppression as well as a wide array of lawsuits. Alarmed by the breadth of voter data requested by the commission, many states had resisted its overtures, leading the White House to concede it was fighting an uphill battle.

“Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today President Donald J. Trump signed an executive order to dissolve the Commission, and he has asked the Department of Homeland Security to review its initial findings and determine next courses of action,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement at the time.  

On Tuesday, House Homeland Security Committee Ranking Member Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) and Committee on House Administration Ranking Member Robert Brady (D-Pa.), who co-chair the Congressional Task Force on Election Security, asked DHS Secretary Kristjen Nielsen to clarify her department's role in following up on the commission's efforts.

“It is unclear how the Department will carry out this charge given that the Commission never produced any findings,” Thompson and Brady wrote in a letter to Nielsen. “We are concerned that directing DHS essentially to take over where the Commission left off could distract the Department from its pressing obligation to protect U.S. election systems from foreign interference and may undermine the burgeoning relationships DHS is building with state election officials.”

They asked DHS for documents and files received from the commission, to detail the activities it will undertake to meet the president's directive and what resources it will use, and the steps DHS will take “to avoid undermining the cooperative relationship between DHS and states necessary to secure our nation's elections.”

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