Secretary of State Refuses To Say Whether They Sent ND Voter Information to Trump Commission

After repeated requests, I have yet to get an answer from the Secretary of State as to whether or not they decided to hand over voter information to President Trump’s voting commission. The repeated requests for information follow their self-imposed deadline to make a decision of whether or not they’d turn the data over to the federal government. Their public silence is deafening and frustrating.

You’ll recall the federal voting commission was established after President Trump made the claim – without any evidence – there were three million illegal votes cast in the 2016 election. The commission is a farce. When they asked the Secretary of State (SOS) of each state for their voting information, the commission was rightly pushed back. The denial came in bipartisan fashion. North Dakota’s Secretary of State, Al Jaeger, was one of the officials who initially rejected the request. We don’t know if the initial rejection was based on Jaeger’s conscious or because North Dakota law prohibits the turning over of that information. Regardless of the reasoning, Jaeger was right initially.

Then on August 4th, Deputy Secretary of State Jim Silrum said their office was reevaluating the commission’s request and may turn over the voter information after all. Silrum wasn’t sure at that time but said he expected a final decision the following week. That would put the decision by August 11th. Two and a half weeks after that deadline, Jaeger and Silrum still have not told the public what their decision was. I have sent two separate requests over that time, neither have seen a response of any sort.

This isn’t the first time a request I’ve made to the SOS has been denied. Previous requests were at least given a response as to why they would not comply. For example, I requested correspondence between the SOS and the Department of Homeland Security to see what, if anything, was their response to repeated warnings prior to last year’s election. Silrum rejected the public record request because he claimed it fell into the category “critical infrastructure.” There is some controversy surrounding that designation. Attorney’s I spoke to believe the SOS may be stretching that designation. More on that at a future date.

There are two plausible scenarios for why Jaeger and Silrum have tried to keep this decision quiet. One, they sent your information to Trump’s voting commission, and they know you’ll be upset to find out. Two, they decided to not send your information but don’t want to publicly come out against President Trump when he holds a high favorability in the red state. Either way, it is the public’s information and the public’s work. Jaeger and Silrum work for you. Join me in demanding an answer.

Tyler Axness