President Trump on Saturday blasted the more than two dozen states refusing to comply with his election integrity commission’s request for voter data, asking “What are they trying to hide?”
Numerous states are refusing to give information to the very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL. What are they trying to hide?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2017
The Hill reports:
More than half of the states, representing bipartisan resistance, have so far refused to provide all or some of the voter information requested by Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.
Trump’s tweet Saturday echoed a similar comment the previous day from Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the vice chair of the commission, who responded to states refusing to comply.
“Frankly, if a state like Kentucky or California won’t provide available information, one has to ask the question, ‘Why not?’” Kobach said during an interview on NPR’s “All Things Considered.”
“I mean, what are they trying to hide if they don’t want a presidential advisory commission to study their state voter rolls?” he asked.
Several states have replied to that question.
“There’s not enough bourbon here in Kentucky to make this request seem sensible,” Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) said Friday on MSNBC. “Not on my watch are we going to be releasing sensitive information that relate to the privacy of individuals.”
The information requested by the commission’s letter to all 50 states included voter names, birth dates, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers and party affiliation. The request was for information publicly available under each state’s laws. Many states are providing part of this information.
Several states, among them California and New York, said participating in the attempt to compile voter data would legitimize or perpetuate false claims of massive voter fraud.
Trump has made such claims before, including asserting without offering evidence that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election.
While Trump is legally allowed to request such info, and he makes a solid point when he questions what the states have to hide, states are also able to deny compliance to the request — which they have done so with swift and sometimes defiant rejection.
The Trump administration has said it is just requesting public information; however, the President’s sweeping request for nationwide voter data has drawn sharp condemnation from election experts and voting rights advocates.
“This is an abuse of the office of the president,” Democrat National Committee Chair Tom Perez said in a statement on Saturday. “Simply put, President Trump is trying to use voter data to intimidate eligible voters and suppress voter turnout. Leaders in every state should reject this attack on our democracy.”
The commission sent letters to 50 states and the District of Columbia on Wednesday asking for a trove of information, including names, dates of birth, voting histories and, if possible, party identifications. The letters also asked for evidence of voter fraud, convictions for election-related crimes and recommendations for preventing voter intimidation – all within 16 days, The Chicago Tribune explains.
By Friday, more than half of the country is partially or entirely refusing to provide the requested information. Some said state laws prohibit releasing certain details about voters, while others refused to provide any information because of the commission’s makeup and backstory.
What do you think about states that refuse to cooperate with President Trump’s Commission on Voter Integrity? Let us know in the comments below…