Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Trump voter commission discloses names of members, plan to store data at White House

Vice President Mike Pence speaks with President Donald Trump. Pence is chairman of the 10-member commission seeking voter data from all 50 states. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)  205498

Vice President Mike Pence speaks with President Donald Trump. Pence is chairman of the 10-member commission seeking voter data from all 50 states. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS) 205498

The Trump administration formally identified its 10-member commission seeking voter data from all 50 states in a court filing Thursday that also said the commission intends to keep the data it collects at the White House.

The response came in a lawsuit by the Electronic Privacy Information Center, a civil liberties group, that has asked a federal judge in Washington to block the requests for voter information until the government conducts a full assessment of the impact on Americans' privacy.

The commission's request for voting information has caused a nationwide uproar, with officials in nearly every state saying they cannot or will not turn over all of the data.

RELATED COVERAGE: What you need to know about President Trump's voting fraud panel

President Donald Trump has made claims widespread voter fraud cost him the popular vote in November, although critics say the claim is unsubstantiated and is a pretext for voter suppression.

In Thursday's reply to questions by U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, R, the vice chairman of the group and a leading conservative voice on concerns about voter fraud, listed six Republicans and four Democrats on the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

RELATED COVERAGE: Florida congressional Democrats blast Trump's 'outrageous' voter data request

Led by chairman Vice President Mike Pence, the panel's other members are Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, R; New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, D; Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, D; former Ohio secretary of state Ken Blackwell, R; Christy McCormick, R, commissioner with the U.S. Election Assistance Commission; former Arkansas state representative David Dunn, D; Mark Rhodes, clerk of Wood County, W.Va., D; and Hans von Spakovsky, senior legal fellow of the Heritage Foundation, R.

Kobach said in the court filing that McCormick is not serving in her official capacity as a member of the EAC, but was selected based on her knowledge of election law and experience with the U.S. Justice Department. Kobach said the Trump commission has "no legal relationship with the EAC," and that while the president can appoint additional members to the newly formed advisory commission, to Kobach's knowledge, no other federal agency officials are currently under consideration.

The federal judge had sought replies to the makeup of the commission and where information would be stored after the government asked her to toss out the EPIC lawsuit. In asking for the dismissal, the government defended its request for voter details saying the data was public information, and claimed the voter commission was not subject to federal privacy review requirements.

Kobach's reply also addressed one unknown: where data would be stored.

Trump's executive order designated that the General Services Administration would support and staff the commission. However in the court filing, Kobach said there are no plans at this time for the GSA to collect or store elections-related data.

Instead, he said, the White House is using a website for data transfers operated by the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Research Development and Engineering Center. Once states upload data to that site, "commission staff will download . . . the files . . . onto White House computers. As this is a Presidential advisory commission, the White House is responsible for collecting and storing data for the Commission."

Kobach said a federal officer designated by the vice president's office will work with White House information technology staff to set up collection and storage.

Trump formed the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in May after repeatedly suggesting that voter fraud cost him the popular vote against Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton. Studies and state officials of both parties have found no evidence of widespread voting fraud.

Trump voter commission discloses names of members, plan to store data at White House 07/06/17 [Last modified: Thursday, July 6, 2017 2:12pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Encounters: In the quiet of exam rooms, women have been saying 'Me too' for years

    Human Interest


    Meet her with her clothes on.

    Don't make her greet you in a paper gown, slits down the front and flimsy ties. Shake her hand, if she wants to, and introduce yourself. Pause between sentences. This will make it clear that you are listening; that you will listen, to whatever she has to say. Observe what …

     Pam Kelly, a gynecologist at Tampa General Hospital's Family Care Center at HealthPark, teaches future doctors at the University of South Florida how to identify and treat victims of sexual assault. Gabriella Angotti-Jones  | Times
  2. 'Days were lost': Why Puerto Rico is still suffering a month after Hurricane Maria


    MAUNABO, PUERTO RICO — Before Hurricane Maria tore through the rest of this island, it came to Mayor Jorge Márquez's home.

    A man wades through a flooded road, past a boat, in the Toa Ville community two days after the impact of Hurricane Maria in Toa Baja, Puerto Rico, Friday, Sept. 22, 2017. Because of flooding, thousands of people are being evacuated from Toa Baja after the municipal government opened the gates of the Rio La Plata Dam. (AP Photo/Carlos Giusti) CGPR130
  3. With college looming, Channel Drive band finds a way to keep on rocking

    Human Interest

    A year and a half.

    That's the time Channel Drive, a band made up of local high school students, had to organize concerts, create music, produce an album and perform in front of audiences before three-fourths of the group were to leave for college.

    One of Channel Drive’s favorite venues is the Brass Mug in North Tampa. Here, from left to right, Colby Williams, Jacob Fleming and Ricardo Ponte command the stage while Alex Carr handles drums.
  4. Florida unemployment rate drops despite huge loss of jobs

    Economic Development

    Florida lost a whopping 127,400 jobs last month as Hurricane Irma swept through, according to state figures released Friday.

    Florida's unemployment rate dropped from 4 percent in August to 3.8 percent in September. Pictured is 
Shantia Blackmon (left),from St. Petersburg, talking with Jocelyn Kelley from North Carolina at a Pinellas Schools County Job Fair in June. | [DIRK SHADD   |   Times]
  5. Study: When you die, your brain knows you're dead


    Have you ever wondered what happens after you die?

    According to a new study from NYU, researchers say that a person's brain may function after their death. [iStockPhoto]