The White House has released unredacted emails containing the names and contact information of individuals who commented on the president’s Election Integrity Commission, exposing the identities of people explicitly opposed to the Trump administration’s demand for detailed voter rolls.
The White Housebegan releasing comments it received concerning the election commission on Thursday this week, and by Saturday had published several thousand pages worth of emails sent by individuals for and against the administration’s controversial request for voter information.
Many of the commenters included their names, addresses and contact information in the body of the emails, the likes of which were subsequently published.
The incident is particularly ironic in light of the commenters appearing largely opposed to the commission’s request for voter rolls on account of privacy concerns.
“This request is very concerning,” wrote a commenter whose name and home address were ultimately published by the White House. “The federal government is attempting to get the name, address, birth date, political party and social security number of every voter in the country.”
“DO NOT RELEASE ANY OF MY VOTER DATA PERIOD,” wrote another whose name and email address was released by the White House.
The comments were all sent to a public email address created by the Trump administration so that elections officials of all 50 states can send voter information requested by the commission last month.
While federal agencies typically solicit and publish received comments, the White House did not initially appear to offer any indication it would release messages concerning the election commission, The Washington Post reported.
“These are public comments, similar to individuals appearing before commission to make comments and providing name before making comments,” said Marc Lotter, a press secretary for Vice President Pence, the commission’s chairman. “The Commission’s Federal Register notice asking for public comments and its website make clear that information ‘including names and contact information’ sent to this email address may be released,” he told the Post.
A disclaimer was evident on the White House website Saturday morning stating that “the Commission may post such written comments publicly on our website, including names and contact information that are submitted.”
The election commission was established in February to investigate President Trump’s unsubstantiated claim that millions of illegal ballots were cast last year in favor of his former opponent, Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. It asked each state’s secretary of state last month to supply the government with information including addresses, partial social security numbers and party affiliation for every registered voter, though dozens have since refused its request.
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