The New Jersey Institute for Social Justice has sent a letter to Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno, the state’s chief election official, and Bob Giles, Director of the New Jersey Division of Elections, to urge them to deny the request of Kris Kobach, Vice Chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, to provide the Commission with the personal information of New Jersey’s 5.6 million registered voters, including sensitive information that is not, and should not be, made public. The Institute’s letter can be found below. 

“The Commission was created by President Trump to perpetuate the repeatedly debunked myth of pervasive voter fraud,” said Ryan P. Haygood, Institute President and CEO. “This request has the same shameful purpose as poll taxes, literacy tests, and voter identification laws: to deny people of color the right to vote.”

Kobach recently requested information on all of New Jersey’s registered voters, including full first and last names, addresses, dates of birth, political affiliations, last four digits of each voter’s Social Security Number, voter history, active/inactive/cancelled status, and information related to felony convictions, registration in another state, military service, and overseas citizen status. Already 25 states have refused to comply with Kobach’s request.

Kobach’s letter includes no explanation of how the Commission plans to use this data or how it intends to safeguard New Jersey voters’ personal information. Kobach seems to affirmatively disregard privacy concerns, writing that any documents provided to the Commission will also be made available to the public.

“New Jersey is under no obligation to comply with Kobach’s request,” said Institute Associate Counsel Scott Novakowski. “In fact, complying with this request may run afoul of privacy laws that protect against disclosure of certain personal information, and may dissuade New Jersey residents from registering to vote in the future.”

As Secretary of State of Kansas, Kobach advanced unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud to support voter suppressive policies. He has already lost multiple rounds of litigation challenging the anti-democratic policies he put in place in Kansas. Just last week, a federal judge sanctioned Kobach for his “patently misleading representations” and “deceptive conduct and lack of candor” in defending those policies.

“To be clear, the purpose of compiling this information is not to protect the ‘integrity’ of elections,” said Haygood. “Its purpose is to disfranchise voters and to support amending the National Voter Registration Act to make it harder to register to vote and easier to remove eligible voters from the rolls. As we explain in our letter, New Jersey simply cannot countenance such an anti-democratic result.”