Secretary Krebs Rejects Kobach/Trump Election Commission’s Request for Voter Data

The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, created by Donald Trump to investigate alleged voter fraud and other violations of the integrity of our election system, has asked secretaries of state in all states to submit personal data on all registered voters. Shockingly, the letter from commission vice-chair Kris Kobach says the commission would make this sensitive information public:

The letter asked state officials to deliver the data within two weeks, and says that all information turned over to the commission will be made public. The letter does not explain what the commission plans to do with voter roll data, which often includes the names, ages and addresses of registered voters. The commission also asked for information beyond what is typically contained in voter registration records, including Social Security numbers and military status, if the state election databases contain it [Jessica Huseman, “Presidential Commission Demands Massive Amounts of State Voter Data,” ProPublica, 2017.06.29].

Secretary of State Shantel Krebs, Twitter, 2015.11.04.
Secretary of State Shantel Krebs

I contacted the office of Secretary of State Shantel Krebs to ask what if any of the data requested by the commission she would submit. Her assistant Jason Williams replied this afternoon by e-mail, “Secretary Krebs will not be responding or sharing voter information with the commission.”

Kobach and the commission can still obtain South Dakota’s statewide voter registration file, just as any other citizen can, by submitting the proper form and $2,500 to the state. South Dakota voters are required to include on the registration form either the last four digits of their Social Security number or their driver’s license number; if they have neither, they can still register at their county auditor’s office by signing a statement swearing they have neither (SDCL 12-4-5.4). However, voter registrations are public records, state law (SDCL 12-4-9) prohibits the secretary and other election record keepers from giving the public access to those driver’s license and Social Security numbers.

In other words, Kris Kobach, also a secretary of state (from Kansas), working under the authority if Donald Trump, has asked our secretary of state to violate the law. Her office’s response to my e-mail indicates Secretary Krebs will choose to follow the law.

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon is also refusing to surrender this data to the commission:

“I will not hand over Minnesota voters’ sensitive personal information to the commission,” Simon, a Democrat, said in a statement Friday. “I have serious doubts about the commission’s credibility and trustworthiness. Its two co-chairs have publicly backed President Trump’s false and irresponsible claim that millions of ineligible votes were cast in the last election” [Rachel E. Stassen-Berger, “Minnesota Refuses to Hand over Voter Information to Presidential Commission,” Pioneer Press, 2017.06.30].

The commission is asking states to submit their voter files through a government file transfer website, which the Kobach letter cites as When I punch that URL into my Safari browser, I get this warning:

Screen cap 2017.06.30, 15:16 CDT.
Screen cap 2017.06.30, 15:16 CDT.

And on Firefox:

Screen cap, 2017.06.30, 15:16 CDT.
Screen cap, 2017.06.30, 15:16 CDT.

I head for the weekend feeling much more confident in Shantel Krebs’s ability to protect the integrity of our election system and our voter data than in Kris Kobach’s or Donald Trump’s.

33 Responses to Secretary Krebs Rejects Kobach/Trump Election Commission’s Request for Voter Data

  1. Voter suppression is what this is about plain and simple, I’m glad our SOS has decided to do the right thing, there might still be hope for our democracy.

  2. Porter Lansing

    This Kobach is as crooked as Trump.
    ~ A federal magistrate has fined Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach $1,000 for presenting misleading arguments in a voting-related lawsuit.

  3. mike from iowa

    California, New York and Virginia said no way, Jose. Kobach is the little weasel stirring up all kinds of wingnut mischief the past several years. He has vastly mistated voter fraud numbers in the past.

  4. Kobach on NPR just wondered aloud what states that won’t share public information like he’s requesting are trying to hide. Never mind that states like South Dakota might not be hiding anything but simply following the law and protecting sensitive personal data from federal overreach.

  5. mike from iowa

    Kansas just denied homey voter information. Drumpf will have plenty to say on Twitter come Saturday morning, I’m guessing.

  6. Donald Pay

    WI turned them down, as well. They can buy the voter registration list that is available to candidates or parties, or anyone else, but that doesn’t come with SS information or driver license info.

    This is just another indication of the out-of-control lawlessness of the Republican Trump Administration trying to crush our Constitutional rights and national sovereignty. Trump would give this information to the Russians to allow them to completely screw up our elections.

  7. Cory,

    From what was told by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers when I was researching my graduate thesis is that the military uses a tougher encryption. That all browsers do not recognize the security protocol as safe.

  8. Porter Lansing

    If Russia hacked voting machines in several states and Trump was complicit with knowledge beforehand and Mueller is close to discovery, this could be Trump team’s beginning of a defense strategy, gathering information to be twisted into a conspiracy of his own device. Roy Cohn is smiling looking up at this …..

  9. Why, I’ll be a goat’s uncle. Young Ms. Krebs is doing nothing that young Mr. Dusty wouldn’t have already done.

  10. Way to go Shantel!

  11. TC Mack, that’s interesting! Do all state election officers know that, so if they do submit their data, they won’t see those same warning messages and back out?

  12. By the way, the Krebs angle of this story appears to be a Dakota Free Press scoop. Williams sent a similar terse e-mail to Associated Press.

    McClatchy mentions that Krebs is spurning this Trump request while running for U.S. House in a state that voted 61.5% for Trump.

  13. mike from iowa

    What are the chances that voter info ends up with Putin if any state is dumb enough to fall for this transparent attempt at vpter suppression?

  14. Cory,

    They would get the same message as you would, but I would assume someone inform them with a similar reason. The information was history of the pick-sloan plan. I do not know if anyone would want to hack that.

  15. Porter Lansing

    I read a piece written by an expert that says just changing one number on a voter’s address or SSN would successfully disenfranchise that voter when they try to vote on election day at the polls.
    “It’s not really all that hard to hack American democracy. That fact should be driven home by a recent article from The Intercept detailing the contents of a highly classified NSA report that found evidence of a massive Russian cyberattack on voting software and against over 100 election officials.” – The Atlantic

  16. Isn’t our very own Senator Rounds focused on cyber security? For some reason that doesn’t comfort me.

  17. Can’ttell should tell the real story, but she can’t tell, so I will. 200 million voter information was already lost by cult republicans. The information is already out there for ruskies to look at. Nothing to see here that has is not already being seen right now. Can’ttell is slapping herself on the back while laughing her arse off at how gullible we are. We are so gullible that we are gonna let her go the the big town to take the other fakes place.

    Jana, if Rounds is on cyber security, then this security breach by his party, speaks for itself.

  18. Ms. Krebs for Governor. The other two are overgodders. Actually, all 4 or 5 running are overgodders.

  19. Shantel Krebs is a secret Liberal operative, and Obama era holdover, hellbent on being yet another unfair thorn in Trump’s side. It’s so unfair, all the obstruction and tv show hosts bleeding from the face who knows where else. Why can’t we all just let Trump do whatever he wants? He’s famous enough to let him get away with anything – it’s so unfair!

    Who ever could have guessed that governing would be so tough for Donald Trump?

  20. W R Old Guy


    I’ve run into the same problem with DOD websites. My wife and I wanted to update our wills through the base legal office. We were required to fill out an online form on a secure DOD website and got the same message. I called the legal office and they explained the exact same thing as TCMack.
    You would think DOD could do better.

  21. Eileen Van Soest

    I am glad.

  22. Well, Porter, the Russians couldn’t change that data by accessing whatever files Kobach gets from foolish/Trump-addled state election officials. They’d still have to hack into state’s files to affect what happens when we go to the polls.

  23. Thank you Ms Krebs. This wasn’t only about following the law, it was about doing what was right.

    And Ms Noem, always ‘itching’ about “states rights” and “government overreach” ….interestingly silent on the Kobach request.

  24. Crosscheck would now be able to not only purge voters with “foreign sounding” names, but also a purge in certain areas that traditionally vote Democratic. As a plus, the information would then be sold to the highest bidder to bombard you with advertising directed directly at you. Add all of this up an then check it off with the 200 million voter roles they have already released and you start to see the problem of what could go wrong. It is the further high jacking of democracy. Happy 4th

  25. Porter Lansing

    No, Cory. They’d have to manipulate the software used to program the voting machines. Experts claim it’s not hard. Using the voter data base, personal profiles of select voters from social media tracking and complacent Secretaries of State in swing states unwilling to admit vulnerability a vote could be thrown out and the non-engaged voter would be none the wiser. Take a week to carefully count paper ballots. It’s the way we can trust.

  26. You know, Porter, as your next Secretary of State, I think I’m ready to campaign on that reform: all paper ballots, all carefully counted in decentralized fashion, not counted by any software connected to any networks. Battlestar Galactica ballots, protected from Cylon sabotage.

  27. Porter Lansing

    If people don’t trust our election process, (I’m a people and I don’t trust it, anymore) then the Russians have won. So be it. Rather revert to safety until we can counterattack than let the camel’s testicles completely into the tent. Besides, it’ll do the voters good to have to wait for something. Conservatives will love it. Except, like all great new ideas, it comes from liberals.

  28. Clara Hart

    I commend SOS Shantel Krebs for refusing to provide the data to the Commissioner. If Mr. Trump is so eager to get the information it seems to me that he is ready to disclose his Tax returns “WHAT DOES HE HAVE TO HIDE?.

  29. Space ballots? What sort of nonsense is that. Paper voting only is great, but if we really want transparency we need to have watchers on the watchers of the counters of the voters and watchers on the voters.

  30. jimmy james

    “The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity”. You just gotta laugh. Every time Trump fantasizes a conspiracy or regurgitates an Alex Jones crazy town notion, we’ll set up another commission to get to the bottom of it. Get ready for a commission a day.

    There’s the Trump popular vote win pipe dream. That Obama “birther” invention needed an investigation too. Ted Cruz’s father was in on the Kennedy assassination so maybe it’s time for another Warren Commission? One loony conspiracy after another.


  31. barry freed

    Like voter identification, it is nothing more than racism.

    Hacking put Trump in office, but besides the Republicans, Democrats and Russians, there are too many independent hackers and too many variables to make it a reliable election tool. To some, 4,000 negative votes for Gore in 2000 seems suspicious. So, Voter Rolls must be damaged just before the election to guarantee success for Republican candidates and agendas.

    Reported by the Argus Leader, the first election we had with Voter ID saw operatives from Texas come to Sioux Falls, start a boiler room, and call Native names they found in the phone book. Those called were told Police would be at the Polls to arrest anyone with an outstanding warrant. The Poor, of any skin color, know a World where they can’t be 100% certain of warrants, so why risk voting in elections with rigged counting machines?

    What will those people loyal to our Russian President do with this information? Purge voters from minority neighborhoods with similar, though not identical names, as they have done in every election in the last decade.

  32. Apparently Krebs did not have to send Kobach a new list because her office already had sent him the data he wanted. So the newer request looks good to her politically but is a false claim.

    When we had the 2015 Minnehaha County Election Review Committee meetings, concern for the data was brought up and several members absolutely would not believe there were problems with the way the data was maintained. In a subsequent attempt to show the Krebs office issues found, I was completely rebuffed in a very strange way by Krebs herself. I will never trust the TotalVote system completely.

    Watch the videos, things are happening to South Dakota voter data without permission of the county auditors who are tasked with controlling it.