Idahoans have long been skeptical of federal government overreach, sometimes to the point of seeing the metaphorical black helicopters.
Now, those helicopters appear to be materializing for real and trying to land here in Idaho.
We’re talking about the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity – the task force set up by President Donald Trump to study voter fraud. The president has claimed, with no evidence, that voter fraud was widespread in the November election. In fact, reports of voter fraud or so rare, they’re practically nonexistent.
American elections in general and Idaho elections in particular are among the most honest, above-board and efficient in the world.
Never mind that in Washington, though. The commission has asked all 50 states to provide data on voters that goes well beyond basic voter information that’s public record in most states. The Trump administration wants to know parts of your Social Security number. It wants your date of birth. It wants your driver’s license. It wants your party affiliation. Presumably, so all this information can be placed in a massive federal database to expose “vulnerabilities” in the system.
Trudging over a voter’s rights in a search for fraud that just doesn’t exist is a total waste of time and a violation of your privacy, an attack on our state’s rights and an alarming example of federal overreach.
Thankfully, most states are telling the federal government to go stick it, including Idaho. Secretary of State Lawerence Denney said he plans to provide the feds with only the information that’s already available to the public under Idaho’s public records laws — the same information anyone can already obtain under state law.
Denney outlined in a statement what that includes:
“The Statewide List of Registered Electors (voter roll) is a publicly available document under Idaho Statute 34-437A(3) that includes the First, Middle, Last, Street Address, Mailing Address, county, gender, age (not DOB), telephone number if provided (optional), and party affiliation (if declared) of all currently registered electors in the state. It also includes a record of which elections that currently registered elector participated in, but does NOT include any of their voting decisions.”
On Tuesday, the state announced it was holding off providing any information, as requested by the administration, until a judge rules on a lawsuit over the feds’ request for data. Meanwhile, Idaho Democrats have filed their own suit attempting to block the state from sharing the information.
Regardless of what happens in the lawsuits, kudos to Denney for not complying with the most intrusive requests of the administration, including your exact date of birth and your actual voter registration card.
Here, Denney, a Republican, is putting his responsibilities as secretary of state — and you, the voter — ahead of his party. He and others in the GOP doing the same should be congratulated.