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Arizona won’t give feds voter data because of security concerns

(AP Photo/David Goldman)
LISTEN: Michele Reagan, Arizona Secretary of State

PHOENIX — Arizona will not turn over state voter information to a federal commission looking into potential voting fraud in the past election because of security concerns.

“We don’t want to make life difficult for anybody. We’re certainly not trying to poke our finger in the federal government’s eye,” Secretary of State Michele Reagan told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Reality Check with Darin Damme on Wednesday.

“All we’re trying to do is make sure that Arizona voter data is safe.”

Reagan had originally said Arizona would hand over voter data to a commission looking into allegations of voter fraud. However, the state planned to withhold voters’ birth dates and Social Security numbers.

She later changed her mind after digging into the request a little further.

“Every cybersecurity expert that I have read from around the country has said it is not wise to put all 50 states’ data and aggregate it in one place,” she said. “That’s a hacker’s dream.”

Reagan said her office’s experience with a Russian hacker — a computer in Gila County was hacked last year but no data was stolen or altered — has taught her that it was best to exercise extreme caution when handling voter information.

“We were lucky then,” she said. “We don’t want to test the waters a second time.”

Reagan said cybersecurity experts told her Arizona’s system of storing voter data in counties rather than one statewide database likely prevented anything from being stolen.

But the security matter was not the only issue Reagan took with the commission’s request. She also said it should have to go through a public records request process like any other citizen.

“I also don’t think just sending a letter to a state without going through the public records request that any other person would have to go through is appropriate,” she said, adding that Arizona law would only permit her to release some of the requested data.

Despite her opposition, Reagan said the matter of voter fraud should be looked into, but on a state-by-state basis.

“We certainly don’t ever say that there is zero fraud,” she said. “We know that certain things happen in other states.”

She did not give a specific example of voter fraud in other states.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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