Today, Monday, July 31, Colorado will send publicly available personal information about its 3.7 million voters to an election task force set up by President Donald Trump.
The day caps weeks of drama surrounding a presidential commission that stirred distrust among Colorado’s voters, turned a spotlight on the state’s Republican secretary of state, Wayne Williams, and led to some 5,000 people voluntarily taking themselves off the rolls.
It all started June 29 when news broke that Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, a panel headed by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, asked for the information of all registered voters in each state. Trump set up the commission ostensibly to investigate voter fraud after he said, without evidence, that millions of people had voted illegally in the 2016 election he won.
Williams said then that Colorado would send personal information about voters that’s already public: Their names, birth years, address, party affiliation and where and when they have voted.
That prompted about 5,000 Colorado voters, an overwhelming majority of them Democrats, to look for ways to keep their information from a presidential administration they don’t trust, according to interviews, anecdotal accounts by county elections officials, and official tallies of how many voters withdrew from the rolls.
About 200 voters chose to seek confidential status, meaning they had to sign an affidavit saying they fear for their safety or fear criminal harassment if their info isn’t kept secret.
Williams planned to send the information to the commission on July 14, but a legal challenge— one of about seven lawsuits targeting the commission— tied the timetable up in court. Last week a judge gave the green light for the commission to proceed.
A spokesperson for the secretary of state said the office will send the voter data file to the Trump task force by close of business on Monday, July 31.
In a statement, Williams pushed back against speculation Kobach made on a recent radio show that some of the Colorado voters who withdrew might have been on the rolls illegally. The secretary of state’s office has “no evidence” to substantiate Kobach’s remark, according to a July 27 news release.
Williams has urged voters who withdrew to get back on the rolls.
“Clearly we wouldn’t be asking them to re-register if we didn’t believe they were eligible,” Williams said.