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States Refusing to Provide Data to Trump’s Voter Fraud Panel

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Political Editor, LeNora Millen

A growing number of U. S. states are refusing to comply with President Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity request for voter registration data.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, vice chairman of the commission, sent the letter as part of the commission’s efforts to investigate the possibility of voter fraud in various schemes, as per the presidential executive order that created the group in May. 

As noted in a PBS reported, “Trump has claimed without evidence since winning November’s election that it was ‘rigged,’ either by voter impersonation or illegal ballots cast by undocumented immigrants. Trump swept the Electoral College in November’s election, but was nearly 3 million votes shy of Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the popular vote.”

Kobach has emphasized, however, that his commission’s goal is in no way to validate or specifically nurture the president’s claims.

Trump Signs Executive Order on May 11, 2017, launching Panel to Investigate Voter Fraud/Photo Credit: Pat Dollard

The requested information includes registered voters’ full names, addresses, birth dates, political parties, a list of the elections they’ve voted in since 2006, whether they’ve registered to vote in other states, their military status, info on any felony convictions, whether they’ve lived overseas, and the last four digits of their social security numbers.

Kobach stated twice in the letter that only “public” information was being requested, and reiterated Friday, “Every state receives the same letter, but we’re not asking for it if it’s not publicly available,” according to a CNN report.

The States that refuse to comply with the Trump election committee request voiced concerns and opposition to providing the information. Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D-KY) said that she does not intend to release the data.

“The president created his election commission based on the false notion that ‘voter fraud’ is a widespread issue it is not,” Lundergan Grimes said. “I do not intend to release Kentuckians’ sensitive personal data to the federal government.”

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, (R-MS), didn’t mince his words, emphatically stating he won’t turn over any information to the panel, telling members of the voter fraud commission to, “go jump in the Gulf of Mexico.”

Gov. Tom Wolf, (D-PA), was quick to point out Trump has alleged that millions of illegal votes cost him the popular vote in November’s election, an assertion for which Trump has offered no evidence. Trump’s claims of voter fraud based on numerous state and academic studies point to a minimal number of improper votes cast in recent elections.

Chief election officials from both Republican and Democrats have expressed concern and skepticism about Trump’s claim of widespread voter fraud.

“In Ohio, we pride ourselves on being a state where it is easy to vote and hard to cheat,” said Secretary of State Jon Husted, (R-OH). “Voter fraud happens, it’s rare, and when it happens, we hold people accountable. I believe that as the Commission does its work, it will find the same about our state.”

Secretary of State, Alex Padilla (D-CA), voiced similar concerns about the letter and voter fraud in his state.

“California’s participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud,”

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) and Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D-VA) said their states would not provide confidential information.

“New York refuses to perpetuate the myth voter fraud played a role in our election,” Cuomo said in a statement. “We will not be complying with this request.”

Amid the pushback from the forty-plus states, a member of the Kobach commission did not hesitate to say her state would also not comply.  Secretary of State Connie Lawson (R-IN), President of the National Association of Secretaries of State, announced in a statement that her state would not release certain information requested by Kobach.

“Indiana law doesn’t permit the Secretary of State to provide the personal information requested by Secretary Kobach,” Lawson said. “Under Indiana public records laws, certain voter info is available to the public, the media and any other person who requested the information for non-commercial purposes. The information publicly available is the name, address, and congressional district assignment.”

Officials in Texas, Colorado, and Wisconsin said their states would release public information, but noted certain data, including Social Security number and full dates of birth, were confidential and would not be released.

North Dakota’s director of elections, John Arnold, said that state law would not allow the presidential commission access to voter information.

“Wisconsin statutes do not permit the state to release a voter’s date of birth, driver license number or Social Security number,” according to Michael Haas, the administrator of the Wisconsin Elections Commission.

Secretary of state Dennis Richardson (R-OR) said charges for voter information such as names, addresses, and voting history would be at the expense of the commission and they are welcome to pay.

Kobach is secretary of state, will not share voters’ Social Security information with the commission making the following statement.

“In Kansas, the Social Security number is not publicly available,” Kobach told the Kansas City Star. “Every state receives the same letter, but we’re not asking for it if it’s not publicly available.”

Officials in Washington, Utah, Rhode Island, Minnesota, and Connecticut, also expressed skepticism stating their states would withhold nonpublic information. North Carolina will provide all but the last four digits of Social Security numbers, dates of birth and driver’s license numbers.

Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea (D-RI) highly critical of the commission’s request, said Kobach was unfit to lead the voter fraud panel, given his record of strict voting laws and a recent court fine for failing to produce documents related to a lawsuit over voting laws.

“It is deeply troubling that he has been given oversight of this commission by the president,” Gorbea said.

Officials have raised questions about the commission’s discretion obtaining the confidential documents.

“State statutes permit the [Wisconsin commission] to share confidential information in limited circumstances with law enforcement agencies or agencies of other states,” Haas said. “The presidential commission does not appear to qualify under either of these categories.”

Kobach is an advocate of strict voter identification laws, which he says is necessary to combat fraud. Opponents say those laws hinder access to the polls primarily for elderly and minority voters.

 

 

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Former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. Fired by Morgan Stanley for Alleged Misconduct

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Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman, was fired by the financial services firm Morgan Stanley following allegations of misconduct, NBC confirmed on Thursday.

Morgan Stanley declined to say specifically what prompted the firing. The allegations were presented after a woman who was not employed at the firm accused Mr. Ford of acting inappropriately in a professional setting.

Mr. Ford’s termination reported by HuffPost as an exclusive has been challenged by the former Congressman as “false claims.”

Harold Ford Jr., a former congressman, was fired from his position as a managing director at the financial services firm Morgan Stanley for what the company described as behavior “inconsistent with our values.”CreditMike Groll/Associated Press

In a statement provided by his lawyer, Mr. Ford denied the sexual harassment allegations, stating in a tweet on Thursday that he will be bringing legal action against the reporter, for making false claims against him, as well as Morgan Stanley for wrongful termination.

“This simply did not happen,” Mr. Ford wrote. “I have never forcibly grabbed any woman or man in my life.” He added that socializing with members of the press was part of his job, and said that “false claims like this undermine the real silence breakers.”

Mr. Ford served five terms in Congress as a Democrat representing a Tennessee district after first being elected in 1996—serving as Congressman from 1997 to 207.

He joined Morgan Stanley as a managing director and senior client-relationship manager in 2011 as a vice chairman and senior policy adviser at Bank of America.

Amid the heightened scrutiny of sexual harassment and inappropriate behavior toppling key figures in the entertainment and political arena, Mr. Ford is the latest high profiled man to lose his job in recent days for similar allegations.

Time magazine on Wednesday named the “Silence Breakers” its Person of the Year. They shared personal stories about harassment and assault and sparked the #MeToo movement.

According to Time, the #MeToo became a hashtag, a movement, a reckoning. But it began, as great social change nearly always does, with individual acts of courage.

In a tweet acknowledging his thoughts on the “Silence Breaker” quite pointed in his statement, Mr. Ford said the following in regards to news of his firing on Thursday, “This simply did not happen.  I have never forcibly grabbed any woman or man in my life.”

In another tweet, Mr. Ford spoke about his professional demeanor and his tremendous respect for the brave women speaking out “in this important national dialogue.”  Mr. Ford was pointed in stating that false claims alleged against him “undermine the real “Silence Breakers.”

Mr. Ford appeared as a frequent guest on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” MSNBC – which is owned by NBC 4 New York’s parent company.

“We are looking into the report about Harold Ford Jr.,” a spokeswoman for MSNBC said. “During that time he won’t be a guest on MSNBC.”

LeNora Millen            12-7-17

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TV One Cancels Roland Martin’s Morning Show ‘News One Now’

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TV One is canceling Roland Martin’s morning show “News One Now,” Roland made the announcement in a tweet Wednesday.

“Fam, the sad news is true. The staff of @tvonetv #NewsnewOneNow was informed this afternoon that after four years of doing groundbreaking and award-winning work, the show will cease production at the end of the year,” Martin tweeted.

Martin, who thanked audiences for their support, said the last episode will air on Dec. 21.

Roland Martin’s morning show “NewsOne Now” was cancelled due to budget cuts according to various reports from reliable sources.

“They called a meeting on Wednesday and told the staff they were canceling the show. They’re having significant financial problems and they have to scale back,” a source said. “After four years of award-winning programming and distinguished service to our viewers as the only black daily newscast on television, the network has made the difficult decision to suspend the production of NewsOne Now as a daily morning news show. The last live show is scheduled [Dec. 21],” TV One’s interim GM, Michelle Rice wrote in a memo.

Host of “News One Now” Roland Martin speaks on stage during ColorofChange.org 10 Year Anniversary Gala. (Rob Kim/Getty Images for ColorOfChange)

The news of “NewsOne Now” cancellation shocked Martin and staffers according to sources. The network had recently expanded the morning show to two hours in September.

The memo added: “While we will continue our long-standing partnership with Roland Martin to ensure his important voice can be heard across all Urban One platforms examining issues of importance to the black community, we regret this decision adversely affects several of our valued colleagues whose positions will be eliminated with the suspension of the show.”

The network issued a statement on Twitter that read, “We are committed to providing quality news to our viewers and to our long-standing relationship with @rolandsmartin #NewsOneNow who will continue to have a voice on #TVOne.”

LeNora Millen         12-07-17

 

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Editor Picks

President Donald Trump will recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel

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Why declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is so controversial?

The final status of Jerusalem has always been one of the most difficult and sensitive questions in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. If the United States declares Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, it would be seen as prejudging that question, deciding an issue that was supposed to be left to negotiations and breaking with the international consensus on the holy city.
Recognizing Jerusalem as the capital also moves the United States one major step closer to relocating the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, which would be seen as cementing Israeli sovereignty over the city.

More from CNN…

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