Trump Commission Demanding Voter Data Via Unsecured Email

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President Donald Trump’s commission on election fraud is demanding states turn over sensitive voter data through an insecure email that could be used by hackers for identity theft, Gizmodo reports.

The voter rolls include names, addresses, birthdays, partial Social Security numbers, and in some cases even driver’s license numbers, among other information. But the the email system intended to traffic the information lacks minimal encryption protections, according to the report.

Trump created the commission to investigate charges of alleged voter fraud, though reports of the phenomenon are relatively rare. The commission sent letters to election officials on Wednesday demanding all voter roll data. Several states have already denied the request or access to certain information as illegal, overly intrusive or simply an expensive waste of time. 

Mississippi’s Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said commission members could “go jump in the Gulf of Mexico.” 

California’s Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a statement that it’s a “waste of taxpayer money” and that he will “not provide sensitive voter information to a commission that has already inaccurately passed judgment that millions of Californians voted illegally.”

California’s “participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud made by the president, the vice president,” and Kris Kobach, Padilla said.

Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state and vice chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, has a history of exaggerating voter fraud and pressing laws that have disenfranchised Kansas voters.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ,” which doesn’t use basic security protocols, Gizmodo reports, including use of STARTTLS, which encrypts email in transit. STARTTLS is the “minimum security precaution” for information such as the voter data, the activist nonprofit Electronic Frontier Foundation told Gizmodo.

The letter also offers an alternative more secure address at “SAFE site”, but it doesn’t explain the difference or why it might be critical to choose that option and not the first option.

Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine, also complained to The Kansas City Star that Kobach’s letter demanding information failed to detail what safeguards would protect sensitive data.

“If Barack Obama tried to get all of this information from state election officials it would be front-page news on Fox News for months and would prompt a congressional investigation of federal takeover of state election processes,” Hasen said.

Trump has claimed repeatedly, without evidence, that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election, even though he won the election. Voter fraud is not a widespread problem in the nation, according to several studies.

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