Secretary of state assails feds' voter info request - Albuquerque Journal

Secretary of state assails feds’ voter info request

Maggie Toulouse Oliver
N.M. Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver

SANTA FE – New Mexico Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse Oliver said Friday that she does not plan to share state voter information – including birth dates and partial Social Security numbers – with a federal election panel set up by President Donald Trump.

The first-term Democratic secretary of state said she had not received a formal request for such voter information, but indicated she would refuse outright, per state law, to release any information that could be used to identify New Mexico voters.

“I will not release any … voter information like names, addresses and voting history unless and until I am convinced the information will not be used for nefarious or unlawful purposes, and only if I am provided a clear plan for how it will be secured,” Toulouse Oliver said in a Friday statement.

Like some other state election officials, Toulouse Oliver has expressed suspicion about the creation of Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which is chaired by Vice President Mike Pence.

At least 23 secretaries of state had reportedly refused to provide at least some types of voter data to the election panel as of Friday afternoon, with Mississippi’s Republican secretary of state saying he would tell the commission to “go jump in the Gulf of Mexico.”

The vice chairman of the federal commission, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, reportedly sent letters to all 50 secretaries of state this week asking for names, birth dates and other information on voter registration rolls dating back to 2006.

Kobach told the Kansas City Star the information would be used to cross-check state voter data with information in a federal database to determine how many ineligible voters might be registered in each state – including noncitizens and dead individuals still on voter rolls.

Both Toulouse Oliver and her predecessor, former Secretary of State Brad Winter, a Republican, have pushed back against Trump’s claim that “millions” around the country voted illegally in November’s general election.

Toulouse Oliver previously urged Trump to stop making “false claims” about rampant voter fraud and said she feared the federal commission could be used to justify efforts to make it harder to vote.

The Democratic Party of New Mexico on Friday lauded Toulouse Oliver’s efforts to protect state voters’ personal information from “Republican voter suppression efforts,” while the state GOP chairman accused Democrats of leaving the door open to voter fraud.

“Democrats should take a break from political posturing and join us in a bipartisan substantive conversation on how to ensure we have fair and transparent elections based on accurate voter rolls,” Republican Party Chairman Ryan Cangiolosi said.

Per state and federal law, New Mexico conducts purges in odd-numbered years to remove voters no longer eligible to cast ballots – such as voters who have died and those who have moved – from the state’s rolls.

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