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Secretary of State Simon formally rejects request from Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity

Secretary of State Steve Simon formally rejected the request by the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to turn over extensive personal data on nearly four million registered voters in Minnesota, citing serious doubts about the Commission’s credibility and trustworthiness.

Simon formally rejected the request in a letter to the commission, which was in response to two letters the commission sent to all secretaries of state on June 28 and July 26. 

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon courtesy of Office of Secretary of State

“As I’ve already announced, I will not be handing over Minnesota voters’ personal information to the commission,” wrote Simon in the letter. “I don’t think that any Minnesotan would ever have imagined when they registered to vote that such information would end up in some sort of ad hoc federal government database. Just as importantly, I have serious doubts about the commission’s credibility and trustworthiness.”

In the letter, Simon outlined in detail six reasons why he has doubts about the credibility and trustworthiness of the commission. Simon noted the commission arose out of President Trump’s “baseless and irresponsible claim of massive voter fraud,” the leadership of the commission is unfairly slanted, the membership of the commission is not meaningfully bipartisan, the commission seems headed toward pre-determined outcomes, is poised to use sensitive voter data in methodologically unsound ways and it is turning attention away from the cyber-security issues that are the biggest threat to election integrity.

Simon told the commission that he welcomed federal help, particularly regarding “the prospect of cyber-attacks by outside forces, including foreign governments, who seek to disrupt and undermine our elections.” He provided several examples of federal help that would be helpful, including continuation of the “critical infrastructure” designation by the Department of Homeland Security, additional help by other federal agencies in assessing cyber-threats and solutions, federal resources for state improvements to cyber-security, and federal assistance for the purchase of new election equipment by local governments.

Simon also challenged the commission to prove him wrong about its intentions, motives, biases, methodologies and pre-determined outcomes by, among other examples, “seeking and obtaining genuine bipartisanship, not needlessly undermining faith in our election system by legitimizing (overtly or through silence) unproven conspiracy theories, and always asking whether a proposed ‘cure’ is worse than the ‘disease.’”


August 22, 2017
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