AUGUSTA, Maine (NEWS CENTER) – Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap told NEWS CENTER he vows to keep the voter information of hundreds of thousands of information private even though he is at odds with the federal commission requesting the data.
Dunlap admitted the situation is even more complicated given that he is actually a part of that commission charged with investigating alleged voter fraud nationwide.
Since denying the commission’s request Monday, Dunlap said his office has been flooded with phone calls.
“We are a little bit unused to this time of reaction from the public over something like this,” he said.
Dunlap has also received dozens of interview requests from national news outlets, including an MSNBC appearance Wednesday morning.
"It's unusual to be in this position,” he said. "I have said right along that this commission probably isn't going to find very much."
The Secretary has been outspoken on the issue of alleged voter fraud since the election season, and insists that it does not exist here in Maine and is rare nationwide.
Regardless, the commission has requested the data – including names, addresses, social security numbers and voter history – from every state.
Dunlap said he denied the request not for political, but legal reasons. The decision made alongside Attorney General Janet Mills, was made on the basis that Maine law does not allow voter information to be publicly shared.
"I'm open about what party I stand with and who I voted for as a person but I can understand why people would want to keep that private,” voter Tristan Strack-Grose said.
“If it helps people sleep at night then I guess so,” William O’Garra said.
"Our thoughts have always been to protect voter confidentiality and how a person votes is their own private business,” Linda Stearns said.
As for Dunlap, he is adamant that he and his office will do all they can to protect the information Maine voters.
"Mainers tend to be private. They are very patriotic. We have one of the highest voter participation rates in the country—very civically engaged, but I think they draw a bright line about that information being used for anything other than checking into a poll on election day,” Dunlap said.
Maine is not the only state to write a letter saying it will not give the information to the commission.
At least 44 other states have denied the commission’s request.
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