La. Secretary of State won't release voter information to Trump election integrity commission

BATON ROUGE, LA (WVUE) - Secretary of State Tom Schedler said Monday he won't turn over Louisiana voter information to an election integrity commission set up by President Donald Trump.

Some of the data the Trump commission has requested is publicly available, but the president's commission will have to purchase it from Louisiana like political parties do if it wants to review it, according to Schedler.

In a statement, Schedler said, "The President's Commission has quickly politicized its work by asking states for an incredible amount of voter data that I have, time and time again refused to release. My response to the Commission is, you're not going to play politics with Louisiana's voter data, and if you are, then you can purchase the limited public information available by law, to any candidate running for office. That's it."

Trump's election commission sent a letter to all 50 states last week asking for information about their voters.

The public voter information available in Louisiana for purchase from the state includes voters' names, addresses, party affiliations and their history of participating in elections. It indicates when a voter has cast a ballot in previous election cycles, but not how the person voted.

The Trump commission had also asked for information about whether voters had felony convictions, which isn't included in the public data that the secretary of state sells.

Schedler's response mirrors his prior efforts to defend Louisiana's data against attempts by the Obama Administration's Department of Justice to obtain private, personal information through a lawsuit filed in the Middle District in July of 2011 claiming Louisiana does not register to vote recipients of state benefits with "sufficient vigor."

The Department of Health and Hospitals, as well as the Department of Children and Family Services, are co-defendants in the lawsuit with the Secretary of State. A discovery request by the Department of Justice demanded Schedler turn over Louisiana's entire election database including the social security numbers, driver's license numbers, dates of birth and mother's maiden names of each and every registered voter, as well as the source code needed to manipulate the information contained in the database. The request for the data has since been withdrawn.

"I denied the Obama Justice Department's request and I'm denying President Trump's Commission's request because they are both politically motivated. The release of private information creates a tremendous breach of trust with voters who work hard to protect themselves against identity fraud. That's why it is protected by six federal laws and two state laws. This Commission needs to understand clearly, disclosure of such sensitive information is more likely to diminish voter participation rather than foster it. I have been fighting this kind of federal intrusion and overreach, and will continue to fight like hell for the people who trust me with the integrity of our election process," said Schedler.

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