After Voter Data Backlash, Trump Administration Is Now Asking Tennessee For Info On Voter Purges

Jul 5, 2017

The U.S. Department of Justice wants details from Tennessee's secretary of state on how it purges outdated registrations from voter rolls.

The request comes after President Trump's administration caused a backlash by asking for personal information about all of the nation's voters. It was sent by the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division and went to all 50 states.

Both requests appear to be related to Trump's unproven claim there was widespread voter fraud in last fall's election.

The letter, which was received Monday by Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, carries the same date as the controversial data request from Trump's Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. More than 40 states have refused to comply fully with that request for voter data. Hargett said last week that he could not fulfill the data request because it asked for confidential information and didn't adhere to the state's rules for receiving voter rolls.

This second letter, though, may be harder for secretaries of state to resist. The Justice Department wants proof that states are scrubbing rolls of voters who have died or moved. It says regular purges are required under the National Voter Registration Act and the Help America Vote Act.

Voting Section Chief T. Christian Herren, Jr., is asking for all instructional materials used by election officials to determine whether a registration should be removed. He also says states have a legal obligation to report data on their purges.

In Tennessee, county election officials purge voter rolls but the state oversees the process.  

A spokesman for Hargett says names are removed from voter rolls on a daily basis. The Trump administration is giving Tennessee election officials 30 days to respond.

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