July 5, 2017
Secretary of State Ken Detzner
R.A. Gray Building
500 South Bronough Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0250
Dear Secretary of State Ken Detzner,
We write to strongly encourage you to decline the request from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach dated June 28, 2017, where he sought a voluminous amount of information on a variety of topics related to election administration in connection with his role on the Fraud Commission. The letter expressly states that the information will be publicly available.
The Florida League is a nonpartisan political organization which encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy. We are strong advocates of open government and transparency, and support existing laws that allow inspection and access of the voter registration records subject to limits set forth under state and federal law.
As you are probably aware, there are numerous legal problems with Secretary Kobach's request, not the least of which is that some of the information requested is shielded under Florida law (including social security numbers per Fla. Stat. § 119.071(5)), and the list of violations seems to be growing. We will not belabor those points here. Instead we will note that Florida voters do not give up all of their privacy rights under the state and federal constitution just by exercising their right and obligation to register to vote. Voters do not expect that their personal information can be subject to limitless access by unknown parties. This is especially true for Florida's men and women in uniform, who could have never anticipated that they will be identified as such when they register to vote. If the requested information is turned over to the Fraud Commission and made public, as the request indicates it will be, then Florida cannot protect its citizens against improper and unlawful use of that data.
We will follow up with your office shortly to confirm how you intend to respond to this request, if at all, and the steps you will take to ensure that Florida complies with its obligations under state and federal law. As it has for 78 years, the Florida League of Women Voters stands ready to vigorously protect the rights of Florida voters.
Pamela S. Goodman, President
League of Women Voters of Florida
cc: Governor of Florida Rick Scott
Brennan Center for Justice, Examples of Legal Risks to Providing Voter Information to Fraud Commission, available at https://www.brennancenter.org/sites/default/files/analysis/Legal_Implications_of_Kobach_Request.pdf; Letter from United to Protect Democracy & Brennan Center for Justice to OMB Director Mick Mulvaney (July 3, 2017), available at https://www.scribd.com/book/352846369/United-to-Protect-Democracy-Brennan-Center-Letter-to-OMB-Director-Protect-States-from-Election-Integrity-Commission-s-Sweeping-Requests-for-Voter.
Complaint, Electronic Privacy Information Center v. Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity (filed July 3, 2017), available at https://epic.org/privacy/voting/pacei/EPIC-v-Commission-TRO-motion-and-memorandum.pdf; Press Release, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law Files Hatch Act Complaint Against Kris Kobach (July 3, 2017), available at https://lawyerscommittee.org/press-release/lawyers-committee-civil-rights-law-files-hatch-act-complaint-kris-kobach/.