After commission declines, SCGOP chairman to buy voter data, give it to feds

After commission declines, SCGOP chairman to buy voter data, give it to feds

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - South Carolina's Republican Party chairman says he'll be handing over state voter data to the Trump Administration after the state Election Commission declined to do so on grounds of state law.

Drew McKissick says he'll be purchasing the data straight from the Election Commission and handing it over to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

The state Republican Party also released a statement on the matter.

State Democrats, meanwhile, pounced on the announcement and condemning McKissick for his actions in a statement.

The Election Commission opted to not give this data directly to the federal government, saying state law forbids them to do so. However, Commission spokesman Chris Whitmire said it was legal for this data to be given to a fellow South Carolina voter. McKissick appears to be abiding by that rule.

Hundreds of concerned voters have contacted the state commission, questioning the federal request.

"We understand and appreciate peoples' concerns about the security of their data, and the state election commission takes security very seriously, not only in security in voter data but in the integrity of elections, also the protection and security and integrity of voters' individual specific personally identifiable data," Whitmire said.

President Donald Trump's Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity was established to look into whether or not voter fraud may have played any factor in the 2016 Presidential Race results. Trump won the electoral college but lost the popular vote by over 2.9 million votes. The group has asked states to provide them with voter names, parts of Social Security numbers, party identifications if possible, and voting histories.

South Carolina Sen. Vincent Sheheen railed against the Trump Administration's request, calling it "nonsense" and a "partisan and political infringement on voting procedures."

Some voters still have concerns.

"My thought would be first of all, get a consensus of all the people that are actually using it, poll everyone, ask you know, 'Hey, do you think this is a good idea to send your information?' Because you know it's our information at the end of the day that's being sent somewhere else," voter David Moses said.

The state's election commission said it would not be able to grant some of the federal government's request anyway, even if state law allowed for it because it does not keep a record of a voter's party affiliation.  Also, Whitmire points out the Commission never has access to how someone votes.

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