Tarrant County voters turned out to vote in the 2016 presidential election. This was a look at some voters at the Griffin Sub-Courthouse on Miller Avenue. Paul Moseley pmoseley@star-telegram.com
Tarrant County voters turned out to vote in the 2016 presidential election. This was a look at some voters at the Griffin Sub-Courthouse on Miller Avenue. Paul Moseley pmoseley@star-telegram.com

Elections

What Texas will (and won’t) send to Trump’s voter fraud commission

By Anna M. Tinsley

atinsley@star-telegram.com

July 07, 2017 2:59 PM

Rest assured, Texans: Your Social Security numbers won’t be turned over to President Trump’s voter fraud commission.

Even though the commission asked for the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers — along with a slew of other information — that data will not be turned over, Texas officials say.

Texas election officials will provide “public information and will protect the private information of Texas citizens while working to maintain the security and integrity of our state’s elections system,” Secretary of State Rolando Pablos said.

State officials working to gather voter information to send to President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission stress that neither Social Security numbers — nor data that shows the candidate each voter chose — are public information.

The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity last week called on officials across the country to share voter information, seeking information to shore up the president’s claim that millions of people may have voted illegally last year.

Officials will review the data and identify “laws, rules, policies, activities, strategies, and practices that enhance or undermine the American people’s confidence in the integrity of federal elections processes,” the request letter stated.

Texas officials agreed to share voter information that is already publicly available with the commission by the July 14 deadline.

Some 4.6 million Texans voted for President Donald Trump in November.
Evan Vucci AP

Here’s a look at what the state will send, once a commission official fills out a form stating the data won’t be used for commercial purposes:

▪ Full first and last names of voters, as well as middle names or initials.

▪ Addresses of most voters. However, some addresses — particularly those belonging to state judges and their spouses, peace officers, jailers and those participating in the Attorney General’s address confidentiality program — are not public information and will be redacted.

▪ Birth dates of voters.

▪ Which primary election voters cast ballots in, Republican or Democrat, as well as voter history since 2006 that shows which elections people voted in and whether they voted early or on Election Day.

▪ Whether a voter is active, inactive or has had their status canceled.

The aim of the Commission’s requests is clear: there will be sustained efforts to restrict the right to vote.

Beth Stevens, voting rights director at the Texas Civil Rights Project

This request for information is a concern for some.

“Every eligible Texan should have the opportunity to cast a ballot that counts, and federal and state actions should encourage democratic participation,” said Beth Stevens, voting rights director at the Texas Civil Rights Project. “Rather than do that, the Commission’s efforts will discourage and chill democratic participation.

“The aim of the Commission’s request is clear: there will be sustained efforts to restrict the right to vote.”

Texas officials stress that no private data will be released. That includes information on voters’ military status or felony convictions.

Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos
Handout photo

“As always, my office will continue to exercise the utmost care whenever sensitive voter information is required to be released by the state or federal law,” Pablos said.

For the record, 4.6 million Texans last year voted for Trump; 3.8 million voted for Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Anna Tinsley: 817-390-7610, @annatinsley

Tarrant County voters turned out to vote on Election Day, Nov., 8, 2016. These voters were at Paschal High School in Fort Worth. Maria Chiu Star-Telegram archives
Voters turned out in massive numbers to cast ballots in the 2016 presidential election. 3dfoto Getty Images/iStockphoto
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