President Donald Trump appointed Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to a new commission on May 11, 2017, that will investigate voter fraud and other election issues, according to White House officials. This video includes photos by AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster. Bryan Lowry and Leah Becerra The Kansas City Star
President Donald Trump appointed Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach to a new commission on May 11, 2017, that will investigate voter fraud and other election issues, according to White House officials. This video includes photos by AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster. Bryan Lowry and Leah Becerra The Kansas City Star

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Privacy group files lawsuit challenging Kobach, Trump’s voter records request

By Hunter Woodall

hwoodall@kcstar.com

July 04, 2017 5:22 PM

A privacy group has filed a lawsuit to halt Kris Kobach’s controversial attempt to receive a bundle of voter information for a commission President Donald Trump says will root out voter fraud.

In the complaint, filed Monday by the Electronic Privacy Information Center in federal court, the Washington, D.C.-based group asks the court for a temporary restraining order to halt the collection of personal voter data.

In a statement posted on its website, EPIC said “that the Commission’s demand for detailed voter histories violated the Constitutional right to privacy.”

The group said that “by seeking to assemble an unnecessary and excessive federal database of sensitive voter data from state records systems, (the commission) violated the informational privacy rights of millions of Americans.”

In a letter last week, Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, asked every state to provide Trump’s new voter commission with the full names of all registered voters along with their addresses, dates of birth, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, voting history and other personal information.

Kobach serves as the vice chairman of Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

He has also defended Trump’s claim of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election, despite failing to definitively prove that massive voter fraud occurred in the November race.

The lawsuit comes as opposition has continued to build against Kobach’s information request from states across the country, including from both Republican and Democratic leaders.

In a story Tuesday, CNN said, “Forty-four states have refused to provide certain types of voter information to the Trump administration’s election integrity commission.”

Delbert Hosemann, a Republican who serves as Mississippi’s secretary of state, said in a recent statement that his response to Kobach’s request would be, “ They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great State to launch from.

Kobach, a Republican who recently launched a bid for governor, has defended his request on behalf of the commission by saying the federal government would maintain voter privacy in its handling of the data.

Shortly after he made the request, Kobach said Kansas won’t give the Social Security info to the voter commission at this time, though the state will share other information.

A spokeswoman in Kobach’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the new court complaint.

The Star’s Bryan Lowry contributed to this report.

Hunter Woodall: 785-354-1388, @HunterMw

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