By July 4, 2017 Read More →

Some West Virginia voter information is public domain, some is not

By LINDA HARRIS

The State Journal

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — West Virginia’s Secretary of State likely will follow state law in responding to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity’s demand for voter information, which means the panel would get some — but not all — of the data being requested.

WVSOS Assistant Communications Director Steven Allen Adams said basic information available to any member of the general public — names, address and voting status — is fair game, for a fee. Personally identifiable information — Social Security numbers in whole or part, email addresses when available, phone numbers and driver’s license information — is not.

Adams, however, said West Virginia won’t do anything until the Secretary of State’s Office sees the actual letter. As of July 3, it had not been received.

Secretary of State Mac Warner was not immediately available to comment.

“We still have not received this letter that they allegedly have sent to all 50 states,” Adams said. “We have not received anything asking for any information.”

The commission gave secretaries of state 16 days to provide about a dozen points of voter data, including dates of birth, the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers and any information about felony convictions and military status. The letter also asks state officials for suggestions on improving election integrity and to share any evidence of fraud and election-related crimes in their states.

The Washington Post reported that, as of June 30, 25 states had refused to release all or part of the information that had been requested, some citing state laws prohibiting release of certain details about voters, “while others refused to provide any information because of the commission’s makeup and backstory.”

The president, who lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton, has claimed between 3 million and 5 million people voted illegally.

Adams said West Virginia Code 3-2-30 outlines information that can legally be released “shall include, at least … the name, residence address, political party affiliation and status of the registrant.” Voting status “only tells how often you vote, it doesn’t tell them who you voted for,” Adams added.

What’s not available: a voter’s telephone number, email address, Social Security number, driver’s license number or state-issued non-operator’s identification number.

The code doesn’t specify how a voter’s birth date would be treated.

“The state code already allows the release of certain voter registration information to the public,” Adams said. “In our state code, we’re allowed to charge a fee for that. I think the entire list costs $500 (but) we can only give out (the information) that is already publicly available.

“This is stuff we frequently make available to the public already. But, again, we have not received a letter requesting that information from the commission. We have no reason to turn over information to them because they have not reached out to us.”

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