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Florida Won't Comply with President's Voting Commission Request

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SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB)--President Trump's voting is on hold following multiple challenges by civil liberty organizations and concerns over privacy violations. The commission is collecting personal information on voters to investigate a claim by the President of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 presidential election.

Sarasota's supervisor of elections, Ron Turner, says he's very aware of the commission's request.

"I've received some phone calls and e-mails from voters with concerns about the request," Turner said.

44 states have denied the request for sensitive information in one way or another, including Florida.

Secretary of State Ken Detzner sent a letter to the commission which reads in part, "We cannot fully comply with your entire request." Detzner says that drivers license information and social security numbers cannot be released under state law.

"The only things that are not public in those voter records are your drivers license number, social security number and signature," Turner said.

The President formed the commission after he claimed widespread voter fraud cost him the popular vote. It's an effort that now on hold while a federal judge in Washington, D.C. decides whether the White House is violating the privacy of Americans.

The point person for the panel, Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach says they're only requesting public information.

"Whatever a person can walk in and get, that's what we would like," Kobach said.

However, the commission is requesting a voter names, addresses, birth dates, political affiliations, criminal records, military service status and partial social security number.

Under Florida law, much of that voter information is already public. Even a simple online search will turn up a voter's name, party affiliation and address. Sarasota Republican Club president, Rod Thomson, says the resistance by the states is unwarranted.

"All this commission is asking for and all of the myriad data points they've requested is public information," Thomson said. "This is one of those situations that has been blown up hysterically because it was the Trump Administration that asked for it."

Some Suncoast democrats, such as Democratic Party of Sarasota vice chair Kevin Griffith, argue Florida shouldn't fulfill any of the request.

"I think all voters, regardless of your political party, should be concerned because the foundation of our democracy is our vote," Griffith said.

Griffith points out that the panel has yet to disclose what this information will be used for.

"It's different trying to collect one single national database in Washington, D.C. for the sole purpose of purging voters," Griffith said.

Griffith worries it could be an attempt to suppress voters.

"The biggest issue is that they're going to overstate the problem and use that as a pretext for passing legislation that suppresses people's votes or makes it harder for people to vote."