To combat what he says is widespread voter fraud, President Donald Trump and his “election integrity” commission has requested voter data from all 50 states, including full names, birthdays, partial Social Security numbers, and voting histories. But as of Friday evening, half of the states have said they won’t comply.
On Saturday morning, Trump blasted those states on Twitter.
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
It’s illegal for many of these states to turn over such records, and in part, that’s why 25 of them have refused the Trump administration’s request. But some states also don’t like what they feel could be the commission’s nefarious intent.
“This entire commission is based on the specious and false notion that there was widespread voter fraud last November,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said in a statement on Friday. “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.”
Even Kris Kobach, the vice chairman of the commission who sent the letter to all 50 states and who is Kansas’s secretary of state, isn’t complying with his own commission’s request. As the Kansas City Star points out, Kansas won’t share its residents’ social security numbers (though it will give out names and addresses, because that’s allowable under its open records laws).
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hoseman had an even more pointed reply to the commission. Hoseman, a Republican who did not support Trump during the campaign, said he hasn’t received a letter from the commission, but if he did, he said he’d respond this way, via Mississippi Today: “They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great state to launch from. Mississippi residents should celebrate Independence Day and our state’s right to protect the privacy of our citizens by conducting our own electoral processes.”
Despite Trump’s claims—and he said in January that 3 to 5 million illegal votes were cast in the 2016 presidential election—there is no evidence of widespread voter fraud, and his claims have been debunked numerous times during the past several months.