Colorado voters have been practically screaming at the Secretary of State’s Office for the past week: “DON’T DO IT!”
“IT” here being turning over publicly available voter information to President Donald Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Secretary of State Wayne Williams has maintained that the same laws that require him to provide this information to political parties, campaigns and the press require him to provide it to the presidential commission, regardless of the motives of the commission.
However, there’s another entity that does get to concern itself with the motives of the commission, and that’s the courts.
The Electronic Privacy Information Center filed a lawsuit against the commission’s broad request, which includes requests for information that is not publicly available in Colorado and many other states like Social Security numbers and full dates of birth. They asked for a temporary restraining order against the commission.
And today, a staff member with the commission told state election officials to just hang tight.
“Until the Judge rules on the TRO, we request that you hold on submitting any data,” the staff member wrote in an email.
The deadline to comply had been July 14, this Friday.
Colorado isn’t actually as much of an outlier as has been portrayed when it comes to complying with the request. Many states that have said they won’t comply were planning on supplying the same types of publicly available data that Colorado is — they just framed their compliance as resistance with vocal criticism of the commission. The commission was convened to investigate Trump’s totally unsupported claim that between 3 million and 5 million people voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election, and many fear its work will be used as a pretense to purge the voter rolls in a way that hits a lot of legitimate voters.
For the time being, though, the whole effort is on hold.
I don’t know how long this will drag out for, but if you’re one of the hundreds of voters who have un-registered to protect your info, make sure you re-register in time to vote in this fall’s municipal elections and next spring’s primary elections. If you’re concerned about safety, there’s also an option to become a confidential voter.