PIERRE | South Dakota Secretary of State Shantel Krebs is considering a second request from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity for South Dakota voter registration data, an aide to Krebs said Friday.
The July 26 request differs from the previous one because it promises voter information won’t be released to the public, according to Krebs spokesman Jason Williams.
“The commission also stated in the second letter that they were no longer requesting personal identifying information such as Social Security numbers, driver license numbers, and full date of birth,” Williams said. “This request is currently being reviewed by legal counsel to ensure that South Dakotans' personal information is properly protected according to state law.”
Krebs rejected the commission’s first attempt. That letter from commission vice chairman Kris Kobach advised Krebs to "please be aware that any documents that are submitted to the full commission will also be made available to the public."
Kobach, a Republican, is Kansas secretary of state. Krebs is a Republican who made the jump in 2014 from a state senator to secretary of state.
She cited two specific South Dakota laws in her reply to Kobach.
Krebs said state laws precluded posting information in a manner that allowed unrestricted access to certain information in the voter registration file, including Social Security numbers, driver's license identification numbers and full dates of birth.
“Even without state law not allowing the sharing of such information," Krebs said, "I personally would have concerns with sharing such information.”
She urged the national commission to recommend steps that are in place in South Dakota:
• Statewide voter cross-check administered by state election officials. She said full participation by all states in a statewide voter cross-check would improve the integrity of voter registration files for all secretaries of state.
• Encourage citizens to be poll workers, watchers and poll observers. “The more citizens who participate in the voting process the more citizens there are to ensure and validate the integrity of the election,” she wrote.
• South Dakota requires voters to provide a photo ID, and if a voter forgets or doesn’t have an ID, the voter can sign an affidavit under penalty of perjury that the voter is who he or she says and then cast a provisional ballot.
• South Dakota verifies voter eligibility by running voter registration information cross-checks, Krebs added.
She said the voter is matched with the Social Security Administration for U.S. citizenship; the South Dakota vital records office for death records; the South Dakota Unified Judicial System for felony convictions; and the state Department of Public Safety for driver's license numbers.
South Dakota has shared voter registration lists with other states for at least the past 10 years, according to Williams.
Chris Nelson, who was South Dakota’s secretary of state at the time, confirmed that he entered an agreement in 2007 with Kansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Nebraska. He is now an elected member of the South Dakota Public Utilities Commission.
Krebs has continued Nelson’s practice. She most recently signed a memorandum of understanding on Aug. 1 to cross-check registration data with 31 other states.
They send voter information to Kobach’s office in Kansas and receive it back, using encryption and passwords. The agreement calls for original data to be destroyed afterward.