Director of Voting Rights Sends Second Letter Urging Illinois to Deny Pence-Kobach Requests

Over the past month, President Trump’s Commission on Election Integrity has been issuing renewed requests for the personal information of more than 150 million registered voters, including eight million in Illinois. 

Voters in Illinois and across the country have been contacting election officials asking to be removed from the rolls rather than have their personal information turned over to the Commission, which has failed to give adequate assurances that it will sufficiently safeguard voter privacy, or that it is using voter data for a genuine governmental purpose.

Indeed, the Commission’s work suppresses voters and perpetuates debunked myths of widespread voter fraud. The conduct and public statements of the Commission’s leadership provide ample reason to be cautious and critical of the Commission’s purposes and activities. Given the sensitivity of the data requested and the potential to misuse this data for voter suppression, it should not be assumed that this Commission will serve a genuine or permissible governmental purpose simply because it is a governmental entity.

In July, the Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE) rightly refused to turn over voter data to the Commission after the nonpartisan Just Democracy Illinois coalition sent a letter signed by Ami Gandhi, Director of Voting Rights and Civic Empowerment, urging ISBE to turn down Kris Kobach's first request.

Just Democracy once again sent ISBE a letter signed by Ami Gandhi detailing our serious concerns about the Commission's revised request, which would risk the privacy of each of Illinois’s eight million voters. We ask that ISBE deny the renewed request and ask for more information from the Commission regarding its privacy and security protocols and its specific plans regarding use of voter data.

UPDATE: We thank ISBE for considering our input and for taking seriously the concerns of citizens and communities across Illinois.  We are encouraged that ISBE plans to respond to the Commission by asking for details about how it specifically plans to use Illinois voters’ personal information and how it will safeguard voters’ privacy and security.