And what we legally collect on voters - a data set as large as any electoral data volume in the country - far surpasses the commission's simple request. A federal judge held a hearing to consider a temporary restraining order last week.
"It's remarkable that the commission essentially folded", said Marc Rotenberg, president and executive director for EPIC.
"This has been a misadventure from the get-go", Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin, who had refused to give the commission any data, said by phone. The request asked for names, addresses, birth dates, political affiliations, the last four digits of Social Security numbers, voting statuses, criminal records and more. Some voters have asked to cancel their voter registration, which state officials are trying to discourage.
"It's very concerning", said Brenda Wright, vice president of policy and legal strategies at Demos, a liberal advocacy group that's been fighting state efforts to purge voters from the rolls. In this case, the fee for a full statewide file of public voter information would be $12,500 - hefty for a regular citizen, but probably manageable for a federal commission.
President Trump's voter integrity commission has suspended collection of states' voter data until after a judge rules on whether the panel is abiding by data privacy laws, the commission's vice chairman said in a court filing Monday.
In the letter, Kobach told the court that he anticipated that re-purposed system would be ready to use by 4 p.m. Mountain Time Monday.
The lawsuit alleges that the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity violated federal law at least once, on June 28, when it conducted its first meeting via a telephone conference call with Vice President Mike Pence, who chairs the commission, without giving public notice of that meeting. Some of the requested information is public, and some is confidential under state law.
As with all things political, election irregularities are viewed through a number of partisan lenses: Democrats point to voter suppression, Republicans claim voter fraud, and many focus on Russian interference in our election process. "Voters trust that states will safeguard their information when they register to vote, and to break that bond could damage voters' confidence and their rights". The claim has been repeatedly debunked, and studies on voter fraud in past years have shown that it is virtually nonexistent. He admitted in an interview: "In Kansas, the Social Security number is not publicly available".
The White House did not immediately comment.
Even though the end result isn't likely to be a massive natural disaster that fundamentally changes the balance of power in Colorado - in reality, it might result in dozens, hundreds, or maybe a few thousand fewer Democratic votes in future elections - even a tiny number of disenfranchised voters can change the course of history. Among those refusing to turn over the requested information are the Republican secretaries of state of Alabama, Iowa, Ohio and IN, the home state of Vice President Mike Pence, the commission chairman. As of now, the secretary of state's office doesn't know when it will send the information.
She also recommended federal funding for enhancements to "critical election infrastructure" such as data security and replacement of voting systems.