Safeguarding the privacy of voters throughout Ohio
Controversy over a federal commission’s request for information on American voters is more than a bit overblown. Claims the panel is asking states to invade the privacy of voters are simply inaccurate, as a matter of fact.
Still, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted is absolutely right to take a firm stance on one of his responsibilities: protecting voters’ privacy.
Husted is among the vast majority of chief state election officers refusing to provide all the data being sought by the new Presidential Commission on Election Integrity. Established by President Donald Trump, the panel is to look into his allegations of widespread vote fraud in last year’s elections.
Members of the commission have sent state election officers letters seeking both input on the voting process and data on voters.
Specifically, the commission’s letter seeks voters’ names, addresses, birth dates, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, party affiliations, records on which elections they cast ballots in, beginning in 2006; criminal backgrounds, military status and other information.
Obviously, Husted should not hand all of that data over to the commission. As critics of the request have pointed out, if every state furnished all the information, it could result in creation of a database that would be the dream of every identity thief in the world. Given the government’s record on data security, there is no reason to be confident this database could be kept confidential.
But overlooked, possibly by design, in much criticism of the letter is one clause in it. Members of the commission were careful to specify they want only data available publicly under the laws of the states.
In other words, the panel is seeking only information anyone — and we mean anyone — can get already.
Husted has said he may provide some records sought by the commission — but not all. Obviously, he will not provide data required by our state laws to be kept secret.
Fortunately, such qualified compliance cannot be taken as an indication of attempts to cover up election fraud in Ohio. Husted is energetic in policing elections. He has been dedicated in keeping That includes doing the right thing in safeguarding the privacy of millions of voters in Ohio.