U.S. Department Of Justice Also Seeks Voter Information From States

Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman says she's confident the state is in compliance with federal voting laws. Her office recently received a letter from the Department of Justice's voting section chief requesting proof of compliance. AUSTIN JENKINS / NORTHWEST NEWS NETWORK

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It’s not just the president’s commission on voter fraud that’s seeking information from the states. Washington Secretary of State Kim Wyman released a letter Monday from the Department of Justice.

The four-page letter is from the chief of the voting section at the Department of Justice. It asks the secretary of state to explain how it purges from the voter rolls dead people and people who move out of state. It also requests missing information from a previous non-DOJ survey on the number of people removed from Washington’s voter rolls between 2012 and 2014.

Wyman said she’s not concerned about Washington’s compliance with the National Voter Registration Act.

“I’m very comfortable, I’m very proud of how the county auditors do their job and the way my staff does their job,” she said. “We’re in full compliance with NVRA and every other federal law on the books and I’m sure that we can stand up to the scrutiny that the Department of Justice could bring.”

The Oregon Secretary of State’s office did not immediately respond to a call seeking information about whether it too received a letter from DOJ. However, The Seattle Times reported that according to the Electronic Privacy Information Center the letter had gone to 44 states.

The letter from DOJ was dated the same day as a letter from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity seeking access to Washington’s voter rolls.

Wyman, a Republican, said the commission has been directed to a link on the secretary of state’s website that provides access to publicly releasable information about Washington voters. That information includes the name, address, gender and date of birth of each voter.

“In Washington state our public records laws are very clear,” Wyman said. “We have to release information and we would do this for any citizen or group that was wanting information on our voter file.”

But Wyman added that private information about Washington voters will not be released to the commission. That would include voter phone numbers, email addresses, driver’s license numbers or any portion of a voter’s Social Security number.

The letter from the commission vice chair Kris Kobach, the secretary of state in Kansas, asked for additional information such as political party affiliation, last four digits of social security numbers and military status of voters “if publicly available under the laws of your state.”

Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson also said last week that the president’s commission can have access to publicly-available Oregon voter data, but not private information.

The letter from the commission triggered a backlash with some secretaries of state, like Alex Padilla of California, accusing the commission of trying to suppress participation in elections.

“I will continue to defend the right of all eligible voters to cast their ballots free from discrimination, intimidation or unnecessary roadblocks,” Padilla, a Democrat, said in a statement.

As for the suggestion that there was widespread fraud in the 2016 election, Washington’s Wyman called that “ludicrous” and unfairly calls into question the integrity of election officials across the country.

“To think that someone would accuse those folks of trying to sway the outcome would be a conspiracy on a grand scale and I just know in my heart it is not the case,” Wyman said.

Copyright 2017 Northwest News Network. To see more, visit Northwest News Network.

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