Letter to Secretary of State Al Jaeger re: Protecting Voter Privacy

by Democratic-NPL Chairwoman Kylie Oversen, Senate Minority Leader Joan Heckaman, House Minority Leader Corey Mock

August 7, 2017

Dear Secretary Jaeger:

We are writing to express our concern regarding a recent report titled: “North Dakota may give voter data to Trump panel, after all” (Associated Press, 08/04/2017). According to the report, your office is considering whether to provide voter information to a federal commission after previously indicating that providing this information would be a violation of state law. The report states that, “election officials are giving the request a second look after the commission pledged not to make public individual voters’ information.”

The commission’s initial request for voter information included the names, physical addresses, dates of birth, voting history and political affiliations of North Dakota citizens. We believe that providing this information raises serious concerns regarding potential violations of North Dakotans’ privacy and right to participate in elections free from interference. At the time of the initial request, we expressed our view that it was “a baseless, overreaching request for citizens’ private information.”

Now, as you consider whether to comply with all or part of the request, we ask that your foremost concern be the privacy rights of voters in North Dakota. As North Dakotans, we take our privacy very seriously. Our state has a long tradition as the only state without voter registration, and we do not believe this information should be shared without compelling reason and strong assurances that individual privacy will be maintained. At this time, we have seen no compelling reason, nor has any evidence been provided, that would suggest the need to share private information about voters with this federal commission.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.

Sincerely,

Kylie Oversen, Chairwoman, North Dakota Democratic-NPL

Corey Mock, House Minority Leader

Joan Heckaman, Senate Minority Leader