Oregon SOS: State law prohibits releasing some voter roll info. to Trump commission

FILE -- Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson. (KATU File Photo)

In a letter Friday, Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson told President Donald Trump's commission investigating allegations of voter fraud in the 2016 election that state law prohibits him from releasing some of the information requested by the administration.

The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity asked secretaries of state to provide, by July 14, voters' information including birthdates, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, about felony convictions and military status, party affiliations, what elections they voted in since 2006, and voter registration in other states.

The data will help the commission "fully analyze vulnerabilities and issues related to voter registration and voting," vice chairman and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach wrote.

"Oregon policy prohibits disclosure of some of the information that you requested, such as social security numbers and drivers' license numbers. ... It is my duty to follow these statutes," Richardson wrote to Kobach, adding that anyone can get a list of Oregon voters for $500.

Before Richardson's letter, which was released at the end of the business day Friday, two members of Oregon's congressional delegation and Gov. Kate Brown said Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson should refuse the request. Richardson is a Republican in the Democratic-leaning state.

Among the secretary of state's key missions, according to Richardson's official website, is to "maximize voter participation and protect ballot security in order to promote Oregon's healthy democracy." In his letter to Kobach, he said elections should be a state responsibility, Oregon's voting system works well and should be a model for other states. He also encouraged the commission to warn states of any threats and advocate for more funding for election security.

"Other issues the Commission may want to consider include how to educate the public so that they can have confidence in our elections whether their preferred candidates win or lose," Richardson wrote.

U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat, charged via Twitter that the commission's request is a tool of voter suppression, and said Richardson should follow the lead of some of his counterparts in other states, and not provide the data.

Before Richardson publicly released his letter, Wyden tweeted a letter he and other members of Oregon's delegation sent to him.

Rep. Earl Blumenaur and Brown, also Democrats, agreed.

"We should protect voters' information and expand access to the ballot, not suppress it," Brown tweeted.

The Democratic Party of Oregon said believes the request "is an effort to mislead the American public about the integrity of our voter rolls."

Trump, who lost the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, created the commission through an executive order in May. He has said voter fraud existed in the election that he won by Electoral College votes.

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