Delaware refuses to cooperate with federal voter fraud investigation

DOVER — Citing commitment to safeguarding confidential personal information and expressing belief in the state’s fair election process, Delaware on Monday opted not to provide data to President Trump’s voting commission that’s investigating claims of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 elections.

Delaware Secretary of State Jeffrey Bullock received a request for voter information from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity dated June 28 and received on Monday, and immediately forwarded the letter to State Election Commissioner Elaine Manlove.

Later in the day, Ms. Manlove said four statewide election offices had been “inundated” with concerned citizens calls urging them to not release personal information, and she spent several hours opening hundreds still arriving emails asking the same. She said not one email supported complying with the request for information.

“It’s become somewhat of a firestorm, a true public outcry,” she said. “People are extremely concerned about even the possibility of confidential information being shared and we’re denying the request at this point.”

Ms. Manlove said she would only release information if approved by the Attorney General’s Office and planned to consult with counsel to confirm the stand against that. The Commission can seek out public information on its own if it chooses, she said.

The request sought Delaware’s publicly available voter data roll including, if applicable, “the full first and last names of all registrants, middle names or initials if available, addresses, dates of birth, political party (if recorded), last four digits of social security number if available, voter history (elections voted in) from 2006 onward, active/inactive status, canceled status, information regarding any felony convictions, information regarding voter registration from another state, information regarding military status, and overseas citizen information.”

In a news release announcing the decision not to comply, Ms. Manlove described a request for “sensitive voter registration information including personal identification details for hundreds of thousands of Delawareans.”

Gov. John Carney supported the stance, commenting, “I agree with Commissioner Manlove’s decision to not turn over Delaware voter information to the White House.

“We run fair elections here in Delaware that are protected from political interference, and that protect everyone’s right to vote. Turning over our data to this political commission would not safeguard Delaware voters or the integrity of our elections.”

Ms. Manlove said technological advances have tightened the voting process far beyond the paper-focused past, and the Electronic Registration Information Center has proven to reinforce the credibility. The election commissioner could only recall a voter registration fraud case over 10 years ago, and the suspect was quickly identified and prosecuted by the Delaware Attorney General’s Office, she said.

Unlike many states where the secretary of state administers elections, Delaware’s election commissioner – considered independent and nonpartisan – handles the oversight during a 10-year term after appointment by the governor and approval by the state senate.

In the same news release with Ms. Manlove, Secretary of State Bullock maintained “Delaware has a long history of running fair and efficient elections open to all qualified voters.

“We should not be a part of any effort to turn back the clock on the progress we have made. Delaware will not be a party to this disingenuous and inappropriate campaign against one of the nation’s foundational institutions.”

The Commission suggested July 14 a deadline for response, and noted that any submitted information would be made publicly available.

Also, the Commission sought input on what, if anything, could improve federal elections, asked for a history of in-state voter or registration fraud issues, and recommendations on how to prevent “voter intimidation or disenfranchisement” among other requests.

Other state responses

As of Friday, the Associated Press reported, officials in 10 states and the District of Columbia said they would not comply at all with the request. Those states are California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, South Dakota, Tennessee and Virginia.

No state election official planned to provide the commission with all of the information requested — even Kansas, where commission vice chairman Kris Kobach is secretary of state, according to the AP. He sent the letter asking for the names, party affiliations, addresses, voting histories, felony convictions, military service and the last four digits of Social Security numbers for all voters.

A spokeswoman for Mr. Kobach’s office said the last four digits of Social Security numbers are not publicly available under Kansas law and would not be handed over, the AP reported. That was the case in many other states, noted in statements from top election officials and responses to queries from AP reporters.

Oklahoma, where nearly two-thirds of the vote in the November presidential election went to Trump, will provide nearly all the commission’s request, save for one bit of information: Social Security numbers, the AP said.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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