Our Pledge To You

News

No request yet from Trump election fraud commission: state

Primary Election Day is March 20. | Sun-Times file photo

Illinois has yet to receive an official request from President Donald Trump’s commission looking into alleged voter fraud in the 2016 election, but it’s drawing plenty of interest in the┬ástate nonetheless.

Telephone traffic to the Illinois State Board of Elections “lit up” last week, following media reports the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity had sent out letters to all 50 states, a lawyer for the board said Monday.

The issue wasn’t on the agenda of the board’s monthly meeting in Springfield, but it came up during public comments. The board’s lawyer also said “hundreds” of emails had been received on the subject in recent days.

SWEET: Will Illinois fight Trump panel over personal voter data?

“We really don’t have anything to act on at this point because we haven’t gotten a request from anyone,” said the lawyer, Ken Menzel.

In the letter to all 50 states, Trump’s commission is asking for them to send by July 14 all publicly available voter data, including names, birth dates, political party, voting history from 2006 onward, felony convictions and the last four digits of the Social Security number.

A lawyer, who said she was with the Illinois chapter of Lawyers for Good Government, told the election board her organization has “grave concerns” about about the request, calling it a “vanity fishing expedition.”

“We ask if it is a good idea to provide even publicly available voter information that will be put into a national database, when we haven’t been given information about how that data will be used, stored or secured?” said the lawyer, Carolyn Pointer.

Menzel said Ilinois law forbids the release of the requested Social Security information.

“I see some problems with the request, if it’s identical to what was sent to other states,” Menzel said.

The lawyer said he plans to meet with Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan’s office later this week. The attorney general’s office has already been looking into the matter, Menzel said.

Trump lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton but has alleged, without evidence, that 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally. In addition to the voter information, the letter asks state officials for suggestions on improving election integrity and to share any evidence of fraud and election-related crimes in their states. Trump created the commission through an executive order in May.

Officials in several states, including Mississippi, California, Massachusetts, Kentucky and Minnesota, have said they will deny the request; other states have said they would grant it only in part.

Contributing: Associated Press