State Politics

Hosemann said he wouldn’t give out voter data, but lawmaker says he already has

Jay Hughes
Jay Hughes

Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann got a lot of praise last week when he said he would tell President Donald Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to “go jump in the Gulf” should it ask for Mississippi voter information.

There’s just one problem, says an upstate lawmaker: Hosemann’s office already is sharing that information nationally through Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck Program of the National Association of State Election Directors.

Hosemann, however, said that program is completely different than the voter fraud commission and one that has much tighter security and confidentiality agreements.

“Mississippi and 28 other states have elected to participate in an interstate cross-check program to assist our county election officials in enforcing State and Federal law prohibiting voting by non-residents,” Hosemann said in an emailed statement. “Any data shared is subject to strict security standards including encryption and permanent deletion. This is an elective annual program controlled by the states with no permanent centralized database and governed by a confidentiality agreement between the states: an example of the 10th Amendment at work.

“The Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, in contrast, asked for the private information of our voters with no guarantee of confidentiality and without oversight from or control by the states. To our knowledge, none of the 28 participating states have supported compliance with the Commission’s request for private information.”

Rep. Jay Hughes, D-Oxford, shared a link to the association’s 2013 report, which bears the name of Kris Kobach, the same man leading Trump’s commission.

“Secretary Hosemann has already turned over the state’s entire voter rolls to Kobach’s Interstate Crosscheck, some 2,092,886 files, each year,” Hughes said in an accompanying email. “Each file includes voter names, last four digits of their Social Security Numbers, voting address, and voting history.”

Other critics say the new commission run by Kobach — who also was behind Crosscheck, a multi-state database used to attempt to show some people were voting in two or more states — could suppress voter turnout.

“It’s a real concern that he’s building a nationwide database of voters,” Vanita Gupta of Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights and former head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, told The Washington Post last week. “The question is: How does this data get used?”

See how other states are handling the voter information request here.

Paul Hampton: 228-284-7296, @JPaulHampton

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