January 27, 2022

Retiree Organization Tells Election Assistance Commission to Follow the Law

Requiring Voters to Provide Full Social Security Numbers to Register to Vote Violates the National Voter Registration Act and the Voting Rights Act

Washington – The Alliance for Retired Americans today called on the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to stop permitting state elections offices to require that people provide their full Social Security numbers when submitting a voter registration form, explaining in a public comment letter that such requirements violate federal laws that protect the right to vote and prevent identity theft and fraud.

“The U.S. Election Commission has allowed at least four states to violate the U.S. Constitution and several federal laws by requiring the collection of full Social Security numbers on their voter registration forms,” said Richard Fiesta, Executive Director of the Alliance for Retired Americans. “Requiring this personal information is unconstitutional and is prohibited under federal law.

“This practice creates a burden for Americans trying to exercise their constitutional right to vote and also puts them at a higher risk of identity theft, financial scams and fraud,” Fiesta continued. “Voter registration information is publicly available, and Americans should not be forced to put their personal information and identity at risk in order to register to vote.”

In comments submitted to the EAC, the Alliance noted that the proposed information to be collected through the Election Assistance Commission (“EAC”) National Voter Registration Form violates:

  • The National Voter Registration Act and the Voting Rights Act, since full Social Security numbers are not necessary or material to determining an applicant’s eligibility to vote;
  • The Privacy Act of 1974, which prohibits any federal, state, or local government agent from “deny[ing] to any individual any right, benefit, or privilege provided by law because of such individual’s refusal to disclose his Social Security account number”;
  • The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by imposing unconstitutional burdens on the right to vote in Tennessee, Kentucky, New Mexico, and Virginia by asking voters to put themselves at risk of identity theft in order to cast a ballot; and
  • The First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution by infringing on the speech and association rights of voter advocacy organizations.

“The Election Advisory Commission’s mission is to help states understand and comply with federal voting and election law. It should not direct states to violate the Constitution or federal laws. This guidance is both unconstitutional and dangerous, and should be corrected immediately,” Fiesta stated.

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Contact: Lisa Cutler, lcutler@retiredamericans.org

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