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National Association of Secretaries of States- Summer Conference Policies Strengthen Elections & Voter Confidetiality

 

The National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) held their 100th 2017 Annual Summer Conference July 7 - 10, 2017 in Indianapolis, Indiana. The four-day event focused on policy issues and programs or mutual interest to state members, as well as the selection of national officers for the 2017-2018 term. 

 

The following NASS policy resolutions were approved and adopted by member vote on July 10, 2017:

 

NASS Resolution Reaffirming Commitment to Strengthening Elections

 

"WHEREAS, chief election officials received a request for input and publicly available voter roll data from the 2017 Presidential Commission on Election Integrity; and

 

WHEREAS, the United States Constitution recognizes the authority and autonomy of the states to regulate the manner of administration of federal, state, and local elections; and

 

WHEREAS, the election infrastructure in the U.S. is highly decentralized and constitutionally under the purview and control of the states and their local jurisdictions, including the maintenance of voter rolls; and

 

WHEREAS, states are responsible for preventing and detecting voter fraud and voter suppression, as well as increasing voter participation; and

 

WHEREAS, states are responsible for protecting the integrity of their elections including the secrecy of the ballot, security of their election infrastructures, and sensitive personal information included in the states’ voter rolls;

 

NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT Secretaries of State do hereby reaffirm their commitment to strengthening election cybersecurity and processes, and increasing voter participation."

 

NASS Resolution Calling for Federal Agency Assistance in Maintaining Accurate and Comprehensive State Voter Registration Links

 

"WHEREAS, current federal law requires that only US citizens are allowed to vote in federal elections; and,

 

WHEREAS, the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) require most states to affirmatively register to vote those citizens who interact with certain government agencies, keep voter registration lists accurate and current, and require the creation of list maintenance programs; and,

 

WHEREAS, the Department of Homeland Security, through its various agencies, has data that may assist states in keeping their voter registration lists accurate and current and ensuring eligible voters, and only eligible voters, are registered to vote; and

 

WHEREAS, other federal agencies, such as the Social Security Administration and Department of Health and Human Services, may also have data useful for the maintenance of accurate voter rolls; and,

 

WHEREAS, federal statute—specifically 8 U.S.C. § 1373(c)—states that the federal government “shall respond to an inquiry by a Federal, State, or local government agency, seeking to verify or ascertain the citizenship or immigration status of any individual within the jurisdiction of the agency for any purpose authorized by law, by providing the requested verification or status information”; and,

 

WHEREAS, access to federal data, including information concerning citizenship, could assist states in determining which individuals are eligible to vote under state and federal law; and,

 

WHEREAS, this same data could be used to help ensure that all voters who are eligible to vote are registered to vote;

 

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the members of NASS believe that the United States Government should provide this data in accordance with all applicable federal laws and regulations to assist them in maintaining the most accurate and comprehensive voter registration list possible; and,

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, the members of NASS further believe that each state should only use this information in a uniform and nondiscriminatory manner to assist in determining if individuals are eligible to vote in accordance with the United States Constitution, as well as state and federal law, and to take all steps necessary to protect the voting rights of all eligible voters."

 

NASS Resolution Calling for the Federal Government to Recognize Address Confidentiality Programs

 

"Whereas the nation’s Secretaries of State believe that our federal and state governments must work in cooperation to serve the citizens of the United States most effectively;

 

Whereas the nation’s Secretaries of State believe Members of Congress should respect out country’s legal and historical distinctions in federal and state sovereignty and avoid preemption of state authority when drafting federal legislation;

 

Whereas the nation’s Secretaries of State believe federal legislation that affects the office and duties of the Secretaries of State should be drafted with input from NASS or a representative sample of the Secretaries of State who would be impacted by the bill;

 

Whereas the nation’s Secretaries of state believe federal legislation should grant states maximum flexibility in determining methodologies for properly and effectively carrying out the duties of protecting the safety of state residents;

 

Whereas the safety of state residents is a priority of every state;

 

Whereas domestic violence, rape, human trafficking, and other horrific crimes are a very real and constant threat to some members of our states;

 

Whereas at least 36 states have implemented address confidentiality programs to better protect residents from these crimes;

 

Whereas these programs have made a tremendous difference in thousands of lives by protecting participants’ physical addresses from disclosure by state governments;

 

Whereas participants may still be put at risk by the public disclosure of their physical addresses by federal agencies, departments and the judiciary;

 

Whereas federal agencies have been inconsistent in their recognition or acceptance of designated addresses used by participants in address confidentiality programs administered by the states;

 

Therefore be it resolved that the National Association of Secretaries of State call on the federal government to enact legislation requiring federal agencies, federal departments, the judiciary, and any other similar public entities to recognize state address confidentiality to accept the designated addresses of participants in such programs and to abide by state restrictions on the disclosure of participants’ private information."

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