The vast majority of states are pushing back against the Trump administration’s request for personal voter information as part of a supposed probe into election fraud. CNN surveyed all 50 states and found that most say they cannot provide all the data requested by the controversial commission. The refusal to hand over all the information came less than a week after Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, sent a letter to all the states on Wednesday requesting lots of voter data.
According to CNN’s survey, two states—Florida and Nebraska—say they’re still reviewing the request for information while two others didn’t reply to the news channel’s request for information. Six states say they have yet to receive an official request for the data but four of them have already said they won’t provide all the information that is requested.
Trump criticized states that were withholding some of the voter data over the weekend, wondering, “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
Under that logic, it seems most states are trying to hide something. After all, only three states—Colorado, Missouri, and Tennessee—explicitly praised the work of the commission while 19 openly criticized the request for data.
The letter Kobach sent to states last week requested names, addresses, dates of birth, political affiliation, last four digits of social security numbers, and a list of elections they voted in since 2006, among other data. Although the commission made clear it was only seeking information that is already public under state laws it seems it didn’t have much of an idea about voter privacy laws. All the states that responded to the request, for example, made clear they couldn’t provide Social Security numbers. Many are also none too happy that the commission is asking them to submit the information through an online portal rather than by filing a voter information request as is the standard procedure for anyone requesting that kind of public information.
Several large newspapers published editorials harshly criticizing the commission in their Fourth of July editions. “As the nation marks 241 years of independence, the most pressing voting issue should be getting those tens of millions of nonparticipating Americans registered and to the polls, so that their voices can be heard,” the New York Times' editorial board wrote. “If the paranoid voter-fraud crusaders devoted a fraction of their inquisitorial energy to solving that vexing problem, now that would be something to celebrate.”