Published: Sun, July 16, 2017
Global Media | By Meredith Barber

White House Request For Feedback On Its Election Commission Backfired Bigly

White House Request For Feedback On Its Election Commission Backfired Bigly

The White House voter integrity page does say it "may post such written comments publicly on our website, including names and contact information that are submitted".

"The request for private voter information is offensive", wrote one voter whose name, home address and email address were published by the White House.

"I mean, what are they trying to hide if they don't want a presidential advisory commission to study their state voter rolls?" he asked. The commenters' name and email address were part of the White House release.

Others pointed to alleged voter fraud taking place by Republicans, and many accused the president of focusing on voter fraud because of personal slight that Trump did not win the popular vote.

Unfortunately, the Journal oversimplified the implications of collecting voter data by the commission and the problems that would result from comparing incomplete data, and it attempted to brush aside legitimate concerns about voter suppression efforts underway across the county - including the well-documented voter suppression work of the commission vice-chair, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Furthermore, numerous emails include enough personal data that with a little Google detective work, a person who sent the email can plausibly be found.

Numerous messages were filed through the activist portal Common Cause, and include only commenters' names.

Federal agencies often solicit and release public comments on proposed legislation. The Securities and Exchange Commission, for instance warns commenters to "submit only information that you wish to make available publicly". "Please do not include any sensitive or confidential information".

This appears to be a completely unredacted dump of every message - positive or negative, with no editing - sent to the email address the commission requested that secretaries of state use, which also seems to serve as its email address for public comment.

While not every email has a name and an email address visible, and some are clearly sent from "burner" email addresses, this is a worrying break from tradition in an era of internet harassment. The emails published by the White House were written between June 29 and July 11.

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