July 06, 2017
*-- Most states refuse Trump administration's request for voter data --*
A majority of states are refusing to comply with a request by a new White House commission on election fraud to hand over personal voter information.
State elections officials, including some led by Republicans, said they will not cooperate with the commission in at least some form. Some say state law prevents the release of the information. Many have denounced the probe as a way to satisfy President Donald Trump's allegation that millions voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election and that's why he lost the popular vote to Hillary Clinton. Some say it is a way to justify further voter-suppression efforts.
"I find this request repugnant," Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, a Democrat, posted on Twitter on Monday. "Repeating a false story of expansive voter fraud, and then creating a commission to fuel that narrative, does not make it any more true."
A CNN check found 41 of the 50 states won't comply with the requests.
Trump created the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity by executive order in May.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, vice chairman of commission, sent a letter to all 50 states Wednesday requesting voter data, which he notes will eventually be made available to the public.
The commission wants registrants' full names, addresses, dates of birth, political parties, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, a list of the elections they voted in since 2006, information on any felony convictions, whether they were registered to vote in other states, their military status and if they lived overseas.
"Every state receives the same letter, but we're not asking for it if it's not publicly available," he told The Kansas City Star on Friday in a clarification.
In Kobach's own state of Kansas, "Only "publicly available" information will be shared with the commission," his spokeswoman Samantha Poetter told CNN Friday.
Some states have rejected that the commission's desire for them to file the information trough an online.
When states began to deny the requests, Trump questioned on Twitter "What are they trying to hide?"
Three states -- Colorado, Missouri and Tennessee -- commended Kobach's attempt to investigate voter fraud in their respective statements.
Three states -- Florida, Idaho and Nebraska -- are still reviewing the commission's request and three states -- Hawaii, New Jersey and Wyoming -- have not returned CNN's request for comment.
Eighteen states have publicly criticized the commission's request.
Mississippi's Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, wrote in a statement Friday: "My reply would be: They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico, and Mississippi is a great state to launch from."
"This entire commission is based on the specious and false notion that there was widespread voter fraud last November," Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, said Thursday. "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."
On Monday, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, an advocacy group, filed a lawsuit in federal court that the request for voter information is "unnecessary and excessive."