N.H. councilor decries Sununu, Gardner for handing over voter rolls

  • Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky speaks at a People's Climate Rally in front of the State House in Concord on Saturday morning, April 29, 2017. (ELIZABETH FRANTZ / Monitor staff) Elizabeth Frantz

  • Andru Volinsky

Monitor staff
Published: 7/3/2017 9:36:31 PM

Democratic Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky has weighed in on the firestorm over President Donald Trump’s election integrity commission and New Hampshire’s decision to turn over its voter rolls.

In a letter sent to Secretary of State Bill Gardner and Gov. Chris Sununu on Sunday, Volinsky argued that officials erred in saying the state would hand in voters’ names, addresses, party affiliation and voting history dating back ten years.

“The Commission has not issued an order or a duly authorized subpoena. Your actions most likely violate New Hampshire law,” Volinsky wrote.

The commission, on which Gardner sits, had sent a request to all fifty states asking for voters’ names, addresses, dates of birth, party affiliation, the last four digits of their Social Security number and voting histories since 2006. Both Gardner and Sununu have stressed that New Hampshire will provide only data that are already public, and not sensitive personal information like Social Security numbers.

But Volinsky argues that while voter rolls are public, there are restrictions on their use.

By law, the state can, and does, sell its voter rolls to political parties and political committees. The general public can view the rolls at the state archives, but “may not print, duplicate, or transmit the data,” Volinsky wrote.

“The letter requesting New Hampshire’s voter information makes clear that all records provided to the Commission will be made public. Once the Commission makes our voter information public, it will be subject to commercial exploitation,” he wrote.

Volinsky said in an interview that he was also concerned about the data’s security. But the chief issue, he said, was ultimately the commission itself, which critics say exists to prop up discredited claims about widespread voter fraud.

“Now ask yourself: Why would anyone do that? And it’s to justify more restrictive voting laws,” he said.

(Lola Duffort can be reached at 369-3321 or lduffort@cmonitor.com.)

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