According to the Washington Post, Trump’s commission, which caused somewhat of uproar for opposition supporters nationwide after asking for voter rolls from every state, bought millions of Hispanic surnamed voters’ records from the State of Texas.
While not explicitly illegal to purchase at the federal level, investigators say the state data never reached the hands of the President’s commission.
Lawsuits related to this issue filed by voting rights advocates in Texas and other states reportedly brought the Administration commission’s efforts to a halt, with some states’ officials refusing to hand over the names of voters to the White House.
In the Texas ruling, for instance, Judge Tim Sulak of Texas’ 353rd Civil District Court said handing over the names of voters “may imminently violate” Texas law, explaining further in his ruling how “appropriate precautions to safeguard the privacy and security of that information” did not appear accounted for in the attempted transaction, according to Newsweek.
Perhaps due in part to the collective resistance of states to provide records, the commission eventually disbanded on Jan. 3.
Analysts say new data revealing how the potentially sensitive voter information may be unaccounted for, as well as why the White House wanted the information at all, points to a trend they describe as disturbing, echoing concerns of some voting rights activists worried about the data prospectively being used to target black, Latino or other sects of voters.
According to Sam Taylor, spokesman for Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos (R), Texas keeps records on voters with Hispanic surnames so it can mail them bilingual voting information, and this data is what Trump’s commission reportedly attempted to buy.
Related to this point, Trump lost the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, repeatedly implying this happened as a result of illegal votes being cast against him.
Despite there being no evidence to date of this type of voter fraud, his commission still moved to acquire data on Hispanic voters in several states, including Texas, who offers access to the information more readily than other states:
According to the Washington Post, Ronald Williams II, a policy advisor for the now-defunct commission, checked a box on the request form for voters records specifically asking voters with Hispanic surnames be flagged.
Other members of the commission are already distancing themselves from Williams’ move to check the box, however:
“Mr. Williams did not ask any member of the commission whether he should check that box or not, so it certainly wasn’t a committee decision,” Kansas Secretary of State Kris W. Kobach, the now-disbanded commission’s vice chairman said in an interview with the Post on Friday. “[That] information does not, did not advance the commission’s inquiry in any way, and this is the first I’ve heard the Texas files included that.”
This is a developing story.