Maine’s Secretary of State releases statement about federal request for voter data

Posted:  Friday, June 30, 2017 - 4:15pm
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AUGUSTA — In response to voter concerns regarding a high-profile request for voter registration information, Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said June 30 that Maine law protects their information in multiple ways.

On June 28, Dunlap received a letter from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, on behalf of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. Secretary Kobach serves as vice chairman on the commission, of which Secretary Dunlap is also a member.

In his letter, Secretary Kobach wrote:

" in order for the Commission to fully analyze vulnerabilities and issues related to voter registration and voting, I am requesting that you provide to the Commission the publicly available voter roll data for Maine, including, if publicly available under the laws of your state, the full first and last names of all registrants, middle names or initials if available, addresses, dates of birth, political party (if recorded in your state), last four digits of social security number if available, voter history (elections voted in) from 2006 onward, active/inactive status, cancelled status, information regarding any felony convictions, information regarding voter registration in another state, information regarding military status, and overseas citizen information. We would appreciate a response by July 14, 2017. Please be aware that any documents that are submitted to the full Commission will also be made available to the public."

Secretary Dunlap, in consultation with legal counsel at the Office of the Attorney General, is currently reviewing this request for access to Maine's Central Voter Registration (CVR) information.

If the commission is determined to be eligible for access to the CVR information under Maine law, that access would be limited in both scope and use based on Maine's CVR statute at http://legislature.maine.gov/statutes/21-A/title21-Asec196-A.html .

"Maine citizens can be confident that our office will not release any data that is protected under Maine law, to the commission or any other requesting entity," said Secretary Dunlap, in an news release.

For government use, Maine law allows the release of the voter's name, year of birth, residence address, mailing address, electoral districts, voter status (active or inactive), date of registration or date of change of the voter record if applicable, voter record number and any special designations indicating uniformed service voters, overseas voters or township voters. (Please note that the "voter record number" is a unique number created in the voter registration system and is not inclusive or reflective of a person's driver license number or Social Security number.)

A CVR report provided to a government entity does not include the voter's party affiliation, full date of birth (only the year), voter participation history, social security number, or felony conviction information (as Maine does not restrict voting based on felony convictions).

The CVR statute is clear that the recipient of voter data is not allowed to share it or make it public. Additionally, data made available to requesters may not be used for solicitation or for purposes other than their own activities and may not be redistributed.