Galvin won’t cooperate with Trump voter fraud panel

Galvin won’t cooperate with Trump voter fraud panel

Voter information is not a public record, says spokesman

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S COMMISSION to investigate allegations of voter fraud is reaching out to state officials to gather information, but they won’t be getting a lot of help from Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin.

Galvin spokesman Brian McNiff confirmed on Thursday that the office received a letter from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. But he said the commission won’t be getting the roster of full information on the state’s registered voters that it requested.

“They’re not going to get it,” McNiff said. “It’s not a public record.”

Among the requests the commission is making of state election officials is that they provide information on all registered voters in the state, including their name, address, date of birth, party affiliation, and the last four digits of their social security number. The commission is also asking for information on voting history, any felony convictions, information on registration in another state, military status, and whether a voter is living overseas.

Massachusetts law specifies that the voter data “shall not be a public record.” The statute does provide for the secretary of state, who is the state’s chief election official, to make the file available to political parties, statewide candidates or ballot question campaigns.

McNiff said he could not provide a copy of the letter late Thursday, but said it’s the same one received this week by secretaries of state throughout the country.

A copy of the commission’s letter to Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill was posted on Twitter.

Along with asking for the voter file information, the letter from commission vice chair Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, asked Merrill what “laws, policies or other issues hinder your ability to ensure the integrity of elections you administer?” It asked what evidence there was of voter fraud or registration fraud in her state and what convictions have occurred for “election-related crimes” in the state since the 2000 election.  The letter also asked for recommendations “for preventing voter intimidation or disenfranchisement.”

Asked about the issue of voter fraud in Massachusetts, McNiff said, there has been “very little.” There have been a “couple of cases” in recent years, McNiff said. “They’ve been prosecuted, and that’s about it.”

The commission was formed in the wake of unsubstantiated allegations Trump made after winning last November’s election that there had been “serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California.” Trump said there were “millions of people who voted illegally,” but there has been no evidence produced to date to support his charge.

The three states Trump singled out were all carried by Hillary Clinton. Trump lashed out repeatedly after the election over the issue of the popular vote, which he lost despite carrying the Electoral College.

Last month, Trump issued an executive order creating the voter fraud commission and named Vice President Mike Pence its chairman.

California’s secretary of state, Alex Padilla, announced today that he will not be giving the commission the voter information it requested.

“I will not provide sensitive voter information history to a commission that has already inaccurately passed judgment that millions of Californians voted illegally. California’s participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud made by the President, the Vice President, and Mr. Kobach,” Padilla said in a statement.

He added that the appointment of Kobach, “who has a long history of sponsoring discriminatory, anti-immigrant policies including voter suppression and racial profiling laws – sends a clear and ominous message. His role as vice chair is proof that the ultimate goal of the commission is to enact policies that will result in the disenfranchisement of American citizens.”

Meet the Author

Michael Jonas

Executive Editor, CommonWealth

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

Virginia’s Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, also announced Thursday that his state won’t cooperate with the request for voter information.

 

  • Michael Craig

    As someone who grew up in Massachusetts and now lives in California, I have seen first hand the fraud that happens in CA. I had a Workers Comp case that took 3 years to settle while I watched illegal aliens get checks for 10’s of thousands of dollars in a few months because they knew how to “work the system.” California is the Workers Comp Fraud Capital of the United States causing most insurers to leave the state just like Health Insurers after Obamacare.

    To say fraud does not exist because you refuse to investigate does not confirm your theory-it only makes people question even more your refusal to provide data that supposedly would immediately debunk Trump’s assertion. All the states that are against it have used the EXACT same party line to explain what Trump is asking for and why they are not providing which seems like collusion to me. Why are Governor’s so scared about getting rid of dead people on their voter rolls or illegal aliens? Is their privacy so important?

    Countries that are not America that finally got the right to vote in a Democratic election have over 90% turnout and ALL of them proudly carry and show voter ID. Is it really keeping voters away or is it keeping fraudulent voters away if they have to show ID. I used to sell payroll services and one of my clients had a landscaping business with numerous Mexicans working for him. After running his first payroll, a handful of employees social security #’s came up invalid. I hand delivered his 2nd payroll after getting new social security #’s for his new “legal” employees. Guess what? It was the same crew of guys. They easily went out and likely paid about $50-$100 to get new fake social security #’s and fake ID’s. This took place in less than one week. These guys were illegal but got new social and ID’s-you seriously think in California that they can’t vote? California has one of the largest illegal populations in the country. Who do they think they are kidding? Russia is BS but Voter Fraud is real just as Workers Comp Fraud is real.

    It chaps my hide when I see a family of illegals hold up the grocery store line buying junk food with food stamps yet get into a brand new Caddilac Escalade in the parking lot. The payment is about $1,000 a month to lease yet they are getting government assistance like section 8 housing and foodstamps and Liberals can’t figure out why millions of hard working Americans are pissed?!

    • Nina

      I think MA or CA aren’t a fit for you, you should move to a red state where you’ll feel right at home with your homophobic comment.

      • Michael Craig

        What part of my comment was homophobic?

      • JFKWOULDROLLOVER

        Nina get out of the men’s room……….

  • JFKWOULDROLLOVER

    Define very little………….Dead people in Southie been voting for years…They’re the most dependable voter in Boston…..They sell the voter rolls………Call your Rep, Congress person or Senator and ask for a favor……….That pause you experience is them checking the voter rolls to see if you’re a D, a R or an I……and if you’re a voter……….If your not…….sorry he or she’s not in right now…