Election official won’t release voter data to commission he serves on

Another state election official is refusing to hand over voter data to the White House voting commission. And this time, the holdout is himself a member of the commission.

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap (pictured) said Monday he won’t release his state’s voter data without receiving more assurances that it’ll be safeguarded, and a clearer idea of what the panel plans to do with it.

“I think it is safe to say I’m probably not going to release anything until we get a better idea of the confidentiality piece and what the commission’s goal is going to be exactly,” Dunlap told The Portland Press-Herald.

Dunlap, a Democrat, is a member of the voting commission, though he has said he plans to “speak up” if he sees it working to suppress voting.

Kris Kobach, the commission’s vice chair, last week asked states a second time for data from their voter rolls. An earlier request set off widespread concern both that sensitive voter information could be made public, and that eligible voters could end up being removed from the rolls.

Already several other states in addition to Maine, among them California and Kentucky, have rejected the commission’s second request, saying their concerns remain.

Unlike his first, Kobach’s second request asked only for data that is publicly available under state law — generally things like names, addresses, birth dates and party affiliations of registered voters, but not social security numbers. Experts say this partial data set could make it even more likely that some voters are wrongly flagged as ineligible.

Kobach has promised to keep the data confidential, but Dunlap told the Press-Herald he worries that the Freedom of Information Act might not allow him to.

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