State Officials Deny Request From Trump Election Panel to Share Voter Data

A voter casts their ballot at a polling station
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June 30, 2017

State officials from California, Kentucky, and Virginia said Thursday that they will not fulfill a request for voter data from President Donald Trump's commission on election integrity.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the commission's vice chairman, sent letters to all 50 states on Wednesday requesting "publicly-available voter roll data," the Hill reported.

The letter directed states to turn over "publicly-available voter roll data including, if publicly available under the laws of your state, the full first and last names of all registrants, middle names or initials if available, addresses, dates of birth, political party (if recorded in your state), last four digits of social security number if available, [and] voter history from 2006 onward."

The letter further requested information about "convictions for election-related crimes" since the 2000 presidential contest.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D.) castigated Trump's election commission in a statement, saying he has "no intention" of fulfilling the data request.

"At best this commission was set up as a pretext to validate Donald Trump's alternative election facts, and at worst is a tool to commit large-scale voter suppression," McAuliffe said.

The Virginia governor is a longtime friend and ally of Hillary Clinton, who Trump defeated in the 2016 presidential election.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, both Democrats, criticized the election panel in separate statements explaining why their states denied the request.

Both officials said they did not want to "legitimize" the commission, citing Trump's unfounded claims that millions of people voted illegally for Clinton in 2016.

Arkansas is among the states that have not yet made a decision about providing the information. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Friday on MSNBC that "we have not received the letter yet."

"By and large, I would be very hesitant to send out voter data that's available here in Arkansas into a national database, even though it's publicly available information," Hutchinson said.

Trump has discussed voter fraud since entering the White House and indicated he would launch an initiative to address the issue. In May, he formed the "Presidential Commission on Election Integrity" to investigate voter fraud and voter suppression in the United States. The commission's purpose is to "protect and preserve the principle of one person, one vote," according to Vice President Mike Pence, who is chairing the initiative.

Some evidence of attempted voter fraud has surfaced in states including North Carolina and Kansas. A Virginia man pled guilty on Monday to registering dead and nonexistent voters in the state on behalf of an organization affiliated with the Democratic Party. He will serve a prison sentence of 100 to 120 days.