U.S. President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence walk to the Rose Garden of the White House following the House of Representative vote on the health care bill on May 4, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Following a White House commission’s request that states turn over voters’ full names, addresses, dates of birth, political parties, social security digits, and other personal data, dozens of U.S. states have registered their on-the-record objections.
CNN reported Tuesday that 44 states have now refused a request by the Trump administration to provide certain information about registered voters, ranging from their criminal records to time spent abroad. A CNN inquiry into all 50 U.S. states found that state leaders and voting officials across the country have been fairly quick to respond to the request for voter data, sent last Wednesday by the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity–and, in most cases, to reject it.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, vice chairman of the commission, sent the letter as part of the commission’s efforts to investigate the possibility of voter fraud in various machinations, as per the presidential executive order that created the group in May. As PBS explained, “Trump has claimed without evidence since winning November’s election that it was ‘rigged,’ either by voter impersonation or illegal ballots cast by undocumented immigrants. Trump swept the Electoral College in November’s election, but was nearly 3 million votes shy of Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in the popular vote.”
Kobach has emphasized, however, that his commission’s goal is in no way to validate or specifically nurture the president’s claims.
The requested information includes registered voters’ full names, addresses, birth dates, political parties, a list of the elections they’ve voted in since 2006, whether they’ve registered to vote in other states, their military status, info on any felony convictions, whether they’ve lived overseas, and the last four digits of their social security numbers. Kobach stated twice in the letter that only “public” information was being requested, and reiterated Friday, “Every state receives the same letter, but we’re not asking for it if it’s not publicly available,” CNN reported.
Numerous states have already responded that they can’t provide the social security numbers, in the very least, while others objected to the commission’s request that states surrender this information through an online portal.
On Twitter, President Trump chided an unspecified number of state elected officials and/or governments, writing Saturday, “Numerous states are refusing to give information to the very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL. What are they trying to hide?”
Members of Ecuador’s National Electoral Council (CNE) recount the votes of a runoff election in Quito on April 18, 2017. Socialist Lenin Moreno won the April 2 second round with a 51.15 percent share, more than 226,000 votes ahead of his conservative rival Guillermo Lasso, who alleged fraud, refused to accept the result, and asked for a full recount. (Credit: RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images)
According to CNN, nineteen states have “openly criticized” the request, which would require states to figure out how to comply as permitted by their respective laws in addition to rounding up and delivering all that data.
Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, a Republican, told CNN Monday, “The President’s Commission has quickly politicized its work by asking states for an incredible amount of voter data that I have, time and time again, refused to release … My response to the Commission is, you’re not going to play politics with Louisiana’s voter data, and if you are, then you can purchase the limited public information available by law, to any candidate running for office. That’s it.”
Florida and Nebraska are reportedly still reviewing the request as of Tuesday afternoon, while Hawaii (which just woke up) and New Jersey haven’t responded to CNN’s request for comment. Six more states are still waiting on the commission’s letter, but New Mexico, Michigan, South Carolina and West Virginia among them “have already pledged not to provide voters’ private information,” according to CNN. Colorado, Missouri, and Tennessee, meanwhile, have respectively “commended” Kobach’s work in statements.
Whatever the final outcome of the commission’s request, the Republican party apparently has a widely sourced lode of information on nearly 200 million U.S. voters already (as does anyone else who downloaded the unprotected cache) for company, at least.
People wait to march in a parade to celebrate the US Independence Day on July 4, 2017 in Washington, DC. (Credit: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
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