Op-Ed

Ky. should give voter data to Trump panel

Americans First Inc. held a 2014 protest about immigration topics on the Alumni Drive overpass over New Circle Road.
Americans First Inc. held a 2014 protest about immigration topics on the Alumni Drive overpass over New Circle Road. Herald-Leader file photo

What was Secretary of State Alison Grimes trying to hide by refusing to cooperate with President Donald Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Electoral Integrity?

The commission, facing multiple legal challenges, has told states to hold off on providing the data until a judge rules whether the request violates privacy laws.

But before that delay, Grimes insisted that Kentucky’s voter rolls are clean and refused to provide the commission with the information it requested. Her position is ridiculous given actual evidence of Kentucky voter registration irregularities.

What evidence?

Let’s start with the findings by our non-profit citizens’ advocacy organization, Americans First, which undertook a limited investigation to find out whether any non-citizens are illegally registered to vote in Kentucky.

Using information obtained from the Kentucky Department of Motor Vehicles, we compared a list of non-citizens in Fayette and Jefferson counties who obtained driving licenses using Non-U.S. Citizen form TC-94152 against a list of registered voters on the secretary of state’s voter registration website.

We found 38 people in those two counties alone who applied for a driver’s license using the Non-US Citizen application form who were registered to vote in Kentucky.

We referred our findings to Grimes’ office, which referred us to the Special Prosecutions Division of the Attorney General’s Office. They confirmed that several of those we identified were indeed non-citizens illegally registered to vote; but neither the attorney general nor Grimes took any action against those persons.

Want more evidence Kentucky’s voter rolls are dirty?

This past April, Judicial Watch served Grimes with notice of potential legal action after their investigation determined there are 30 Kentucky counties with more registered voters than citizens over the age of 18 per 2015 U.S. Census Bureau estimates. For example, Boone County has approximately 85,000 persons over 18, but over 100,000 registered voters.

There is evidence of voter-registration irregularities across the country.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation found that Virginia recently removed more than 5,500 non-citizens from voter lists, including 1,852 people who had cast ballots. And in 2012, a Pew Research study found that approximately 24 million voter registrations — one of every eight in the U.S. — are either no longer valid or significantly inaccurate, that more than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed as voters, and that approximately 2.75 million people have registrations in more than one state.

Much of the illegal voter registration stems from the ease of registration. The voter registration form used in Kentucky and other states merely requires a name, address, date of birth and Social Security number. Registrants simply declare they are a citizen and not otherwise ineligible, but there is no independent verification of citizenship or whether the Social Security number given is valid.

In Kentucky, if the number given by the registrant doesn’t match one of an existing registered Kentucky voter, the registration is automatically accepted.

Given the evidence of voter registration fraud in Kentucky and across the country, Grimes’ refusal to cooperate with the Election Integrity Commission’s request is an inexcusable dereliction of her duty.

Her stated reason for not cooperating is completely disingenuous: “I’m not going to risk sensitive information for 3.2 million Kentuckians getting in the wrong hands, into the public domain and possibly for the wrong reasons, to keep people away from the ballot box.”

Her faked concern is laughable since for $450 her office will sell to political parties and political-action committees essentially the same voter information, with the exception of the last four digits of Social Security numbers, requested by the commission.

The president’s commission’s effort to address the problem of illegal registration and voting has been equated with voter suppression. None of the efforts to cleanse the voter rolls of illegal registrants will prevent a qualified citizen from voting. Ensuring only qualified citizens can vote enhances their electoral power because their votes are not diluted by illegal ones. No American citizen should be opposed to efforts to purge voter rolls of ineligible registrants.

So, we again ask: With actual evidence of irregularities in Kentucky’s voter registration records, what is Grimes trying to hide by refusing to cooperate with the president’s commission?

Dan M. Rose is president and Ron Vissing is vice-president of Americans First, Inc.

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