BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Secretary of State Lawerence Denney announced Tuesday he will not hand over detailed voter information to President Donald Trump’s commission on election fraud as part of a settlement with the Idaho Democratic Party.
Idaho now joins 17 other states and the District of Columbia also refusing to comply with the commission’s request. Many others plan to provide only limited publicly available information.
“We are very pleased to tell Idahoans that we have protected their privacy by negotiating for an agreement that Secretary Denney will not send the voter information sought by the Trump Commission,” said Bert Marley, chairman of the Idaho Democratic Party.
Idaho Democratic officials sued Denney earlier this month arguing that the commission’s probe is illegal because Idaho law bans releasing private information for commercial use.
The commission had originally given all 50 states until July 14 to hand over key points of voter data including names, dates of birth and the last four digits of each voter’s Social Security numbers. However, the commission has since backed off from that request after facing multiple legal challenges.
“Everything was already on hold,” Denney said. “But we will not be sending anything out. If we get another request, a formal one, I don’t see how I can’t hand over public information.”
Denney said he agreed not comply with the original request sent by Trump’s voter panel as part of the agreement with the Idaho Democratic Party. Furthermore, Denney will give the state Democratic Party a 10-day notice if he considers complying with any future requests from the commission — the same amount of time the state has to fulfill a public records request.
“If Secretary Denney considers sending the information in the future, he has agreed to give us 10 days of notice so we have time to re-file our lawsuit and fight for the privacy that Idaho voters expect and deserve,” Marley said.
Trump, a Republican, created the commission in May to investigate his allegations — offered without evidence — that millions of people voted illegally in 2016.
Democrats and civil rights groups have blasted the commission as a biased panel bent on voter suppression. Meanwhile, the Idaho secretary of state’s office has been inundated with calls and emails from the public since news of the commission’s request was announced. Many asked the office not to hand over sensitive voter information.
In Idaho, the state’s voter registration system is public, including voters’ names, addresses and voting history. However, information about driver’s license numbers, the last four digits of Social Security numbers and date of births are not releasable under the state’s public records law even though that data is collected on registration forms.
Idaho’s voter registration system doesn’t track information about felony convictions or whether voters are registered in other states.
Local journalism is essential.
Give directly to The Spokesman-Review's Northwest Passages community forums series -- which helps to offset the costs of several reporter and editor positions at the newspaper -- by using the easy options below. Gifts processed in this system are not tax deductible, but are predominately used to help meet the local financial requirements needed to receive national matching-grant funds.
Subscribe to the Coronavirus newsletter
Get the day’s latest Coronavirus news delivered to your inbox by subscribing to our newsletter.