The information Mark Martin has shared with the world | Arkansas Blog

Friday, July 7, 2017

The information Mark Martin has shared with the world

Posted By on Fri, Jul 7, 2017 at 12:09 PM

click to enlarge STATE SECRETS: This is the file directory of computer disk bearing the name of every voter in Arknasas, with such identifying information as birth date, address, telephone number, political party registration and elections in which they've vote. For $2.50, it can be yours. But a Trump commission may put it all on the web.
  • STATE SECRETS: This is the file directory of computer disk bearing the name of every voter in Arknasas, with such identifying information as birth date, address, telephone number, political party registration and elections in which they've vote. For $2.50, it can be yours. But a Trump commission may put it all on the web.

Secretary of State Mark Martin this week shipped to Donald Trump's "election integrity commission" by a huge electronic data dump all the public information his office maintains on voters in the state of Arkansas.

No biggie, he said. It's public information after all.

It's a biggie. It's a biggie particularly if those driving the effort to try to prove Trump really won the popular vote in 2016 follow through as promised and make all this data readily available to all who want to see it.

It's true that it's public information. The file of every registered voter in Arkansas is available to anyone willing to plunk down $2.50. You'll need a pretty high-powered computer to open the file, because it's a big thing. But ..... man. What great information.

I have my disk now. I can look up the name of every registered voter in Arkansas, sorted by county and by every imaginable elected office district. I can find out the birth date of those voters, so no more lying about your age. I can find your street address and, in some cases, also your postoffice address. I can find your telephone number. I can see if you registered as a member of a political party. I can see which elections you've voted in.

Remember when the gun nuts put up a huge howl at the registry of concealed weapon holders being on-line? One complaint was that it gave a way to look up people's addresses. Guess what, this file Mark Martin turned over has hundreds of thousands of addresses and phone numbers and birth dates. Ready access to that information on-line is, as some have noted, an invitation to identity fraud.

I should also add that this information isn't the sure key to detecting voter fraud, though we already knew that from Kobach's past flawed efforts to compare voter data bases. It's not illegal to be registered in two states, for example. It is illegal to vote in two states in the same election. But the appearance of similar names on voter rolls in two states isn't concrete proof of anything. And not every name has every bit of data that can be required. Birth dates are missing for some voters. Not all entries include a phone number. Addresses change. And so on.

But, at a minimum, you could do some pretty good voter prospecting — not to mention selling time shares or anything else — with this information and political candidates do it all the time. Imagine if it was all put on-line and readily searchable.

The Arizona secretary of state, a Republican, considered some of these issues and decided to give the Trump commission nothing. She'd originally considered responding in a somewhat limited fashion, as Mark Martin chose to do. But she got a lot of complaints. And Monday, she changed course.

“I share the concerns of many Arizona citizens that the Commission’s request implicates serious privacy concerns,” she wrote in response to the request for voter information. “Since there is nothing in Executive Order 13799 (nor federal law) that gives the Commission authority to unilaterally acquire and disseminate such sensitive information, the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office is not in a position to fulfill your request.”

In blocking the request, Arizona joins a growing number of states that have balked at aiding President Donald Trump's commission, which is vice-chaired by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. 
Mark Martin did not balk. So, if you don't like that pay $2.50 and look up his street address and phone number and drop him a note.

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