Pennsylvania Governor Wolf Statement on White House Election ‘Integrity’ Commission

July 07, 2017

Harrisburg, PA – Governor Tom Wolf released the following statement on the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity:

“Over the past week, it has become clear that both the intentions and execution of the White House efforts on election integrity are questionable at best.

“Let me be very clear: indiscriminately kicking legitimate voters off voter rolls is a real assault on the integrity of our elections. Such actions are not legitimately within the province of the commission.

“Any citizen can buy Pennsylvania’s public voter file for a fee, but state law also prohibits anyone from using the list for improper purposes, from tampering with or altering the list, or from further distributing the list to the public. State law requires that it be used only for elections, political activities or law enforcement purposes.

“Statements by Vice Chair Kobach suggest his intent may be to improperly use Pennsylvania’s data. Mr. Kobach told CNN that he seeks to take our voters’ personal data and compare it against unrelated data, and he has stated intent to share this in some public manner. We have not provided Mr. Kobach, or the federal government, any authority to do this. I have asked my counsel to review potential legal remedies to prevent the White House, Mr. Kobach or any federal agency from engaging in unauthorized misuse of our citizens’ information or state-maintained records.

“We are not requesting or in need of any further assistance from the White House or Mr. Kobach, whose Interstate Crosscheck program was found to be error-prone by local election officials in Pennsylvania. Suggestions that Pennsylvania or any other state is hiding or ignoring illegal voting is an insult to the law enforcement and elections officials who enforce election law.

“Pennsylvania, along with many other states, has already partnered with the non-partisan Pew Charitable Trusts and the state consortium, Election Registration Information Center (ERIC), to bolster our own efforts to maintain the integrity of our voter rolls. Unlike the White House, this program seeks to expand voter registration, while fairly using sound data analytics to identify potential outdated voter registrations. This is fundamentally different – and better – than other efforts such as Interstate Crosscheck that called into question thousands of legitimate registrations rather than finding anything illegal.

“Further, the commission’s request for states to email their entire files containing personal data flies in the face of basic privacy standards and calls into question if even public data will be handled securely. Even worse, the request seems to have violated federal law and any acceptable best practice or standard for requesting data from states.

“For all these reasons, I have no confidence in this commission’s administration, standards of security or privacy, or that its true intentions are to bolster the right to vote. Pennsylvania will not participate in this fishing expedition to prove the President’s patently untrue statements and I will seek every avenue to protect our citizens’ personal information.”

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