President Donald Trump’s commission on election integrity has asked all 50 states to provide voter rolls going back to 2006, and personal information including names, birth dates and partial Social Security numbers of all registered voters.
The request by Kris Korbach, Kansas’ secretary of state and the vice chairman of the commission, is already facing a backlash by states that say the request is unnecessary and unwarranted.
“I have no intention of honoring this request,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said Thursday in a statement. McAuliffe, a Democrat, said there is no evidence of voter fraud in his state and that the commission is “politically motivated and silly posturing.”
“At best this commission was set up as a pretext to validate Donald Trump’s alternative election facts,” he said, “and at worst is a tool to commit large-scale voter suppression.”
In a statement Thursday, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, a Democrat, also said he won’t cooperate: “I will not provide sensitive voter information to a commission that has already inaccurately passed judgment that millions of Californians voted illegally. California’s participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims.”
Both McAuliffe and Padilla said the commission is a waste of taxpayer money that should be focusing on investigating Russian tampering, which they called the real threat to election integrity.
Late Thursday, Kentucky also rejected the request. “I do not intend to release Kentuckians’ sensitive personal data to the federal government,” Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat, said in a statement. “The president created this election commission based on the false notion that ‘voter fraud’ is a widespread issue — it is not.”
The commission is led by Vice President Mike Pence, and is scheduled to meet for the first time in July. Pence has said the group’s goal is to “protect and preserve the principle of one person, one vote.”
Korbach’s letter, which was sent Wednesday, asks the 50 secretaries of state to answer seven questions, including what evidence they have of voter fraud in their state and what laws hinder “your ability to ensure the integrity” of elections. It also seeks the full names of all registered voters, their addresses, dates of birth, party affiliation, last four digits of Social Security numbers and voting history for every election since 2006. Any documents sent to the commission will be made available to the public, the letter said.
Korbach told the Kansas City Star that all the voter data would be stored on secure government servers and cross referenced against federal databases to weed out fraud.
Jason Kander of the Democratic National Committee blasted Korbach’s request. “I certainly don’t trust the Trump administration with that information, and people across the country should be outraged,” he said in a statement.
Both Korbach and Trump have claimed that millions of people voted illegally in the November election, but neither has offered any proof of that. Independent experts and top Republicans and Democrats alike have said there is no evidence supporting those claims, and that voter fraud in the U.S. remains extremely rare.
As secretary of state, Korbach has backed extremely restrictive voting laws, and has faced a number of lawsuits accusing him of illegally disenfranchising Kansas voters.