Officials Reassure Voters They Won’t Release Personal Information To Trump’s Election Commission

Our daily roundup of Texas headlines.

By Becky FogelJuly 3, 2017 4:15 pm

The Standard’s news roundup gives you a quick hit of interesting, sometimes irreverent, and breaking news stories from all over the state.

Statewide, officials are seeking to reassure Texas voters that their private information will not be handed over to the federal government.

From KUT-Austin, Nathan Bernier reports:

“Over the weekend, Gov. Greg Abbott tweeted a story from the Washington DC newspaper The Hill that said more than half of states are refusing to provide voter data requested by the Trump administration’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The Commission was created in part to investigate President Donald Trump’s unfounded claim that three million to five million people voted illegally in the November election.

Gov. Abbott wrote, “Texas is keeping private your private information.”

The governor was responding to a torrent of concern on social media that Texas was planning to cooperate with the commission.

Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos is appointed by Gov. Abbott and he said Friday that his office will only hand over public information they are required to by state or federal law. Government attorneys are deciding now what that would be and how much should be redacted.

Some of the information requested would typically be private, such as the last four digits of a person’s social security number. A public information request form on the Texas Secretary of State’s website allows anyone to request Texas voter registration data. The form says the data would include names, addresses, dates of birth and which party’s primary the person voted in, but not that person’s actual vote.

Meanwhile, some states are denying any cooperation with the Election Integrity Commission. Mississippi’s Republican Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann issued a statement saying “They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great state to launch from.”

President Trump raised the issue on Twitter of states declining to provide information asking “what are they trying to hide?” 

Harris County held its first-ever Spanish language training for Volunteer Deputy Voter Registrars on Thursday, June 29.

That’s a fancy way of saying – volunteers who can help other people register to vote.

“Under Texas law you have to receive this training before you can proactively handle another person’s voter registration card and turn that in for them,” says Cassandra Champion, a staff attorney with the Texas Civil Rights Project, which advocates for these Spanish-language trainings.

She applauded Harris County for offering a training in Spanish – but says other counties still need to follow their lead.

“Harris County is one of 254 counties. And so although very encouraging it’s a Band-Aid to the larger problem and we think the state itself needs to ensure that every county is able to do this,” she says.

Harris County has more than one million residents who speak Spanish at home.

The Texas Department of Public Safety is increasing traffic enforcement through Tuesday, July 4.

The agency says troopers will be looking for drunk drivers and other traffic violations like speeding.

During last year’s Fourth of July enforcement period, DPS issued more than 85,000 tickets and warnings.

DPS also made 601 DWI arrests.