Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana secretaries of state say they won't give President Trump voter data

President Trump's commission requests voter data
Posted at 10:36 AM, Jun 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-30 19:06:07-04

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — President Donald Trump's commission investigating alleged voter fraud in the 2016 elections has asked states for a list of the names, party affiliations, addresses and voting histories of all voters, if state law allows it to be public.

A Wednesday letter from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity gives secretaries of state about two weeks to provide about a dozen points of voter data. That also would include dates of birth, the last four digits of voters' Social Security numbers and any information about felony convictions and military status.

Some Democratic officials refused to comply -- including Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes -- saying the request invades privacy and is based on false claims of fraud.

“Kentucky will not aid a commission that is at its best a waste of taxpayer money and at worst an attempt to legitimize voter suppression efforts across the country," Grimes said in a statement.

Connie Lawson, Indiana's secretary of state, also said in a written statement that she was not permitted by law to provide the personal information requested.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted assured the then-Republican presidential nominee in Octoberthat “the election is secure, and the threat of widespread voter fraud is just not something that is happening in Ohio.”

Husted also said he would not be sharing confidential information such as the last four digits of a voter's Social Security number or Ohio driver license number.

"In responding to the Commission, we will have ideas on how the federal government can better support states in running elections," Husted wrote in a recponse to the commission's letter. "However, we will make it clear that we do not want any federal intervention in our state's right and responsibility to conduct elections."

Sherry Poland, director of elections at the Hamilton County Board of Elections, said voting registration data has been available to the public for as long as she can remember.

With a few exceptions, Ohio voter information that is available includes names, addresses, last primary voted in, and the ballot type the voter selected. There is no personal information, such as a social security number, available.

Trump lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton but has alleged, without evidence, that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally. In addition to the voter information, the letter asks state officials for suggestions on improving election integrity and to share any evidence of fraud and election-related crimes in their states.

The data will help the commission "fully analyze vulnerabilities and issues related to voter registration and voting," vice chairman and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach wrote.

Virginia's governor and the secretary of state in California, both Democrats, responded that they will not share the information.

The California and Virginia officials said attention would be better spent upgrading aging voting systems or focusing on Russia's alleged election meddling. Trump has alleged "serious voter fraud" in both states.

"California's participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud," Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a statement.

Clinton won California by about 3 million votes.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said there is no evidence of voter fraud in the state.

"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," he said in a statement.

Trump created the commission through an executive order in May.

The panel is seeking "public information and publicly available data" from every state and the District of Columbia, said Marc Lotter, a spokesman for Vice President Mike Pence, who is chairing the commission. Lotter described the intent of the request as "fact-finding" and said there were no objections to it by anyone on the 10-member commission, which includes four Democrats.

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat, said he is not sure whether he will share the data because of privacy concerns. Vermont's top election official, Democrat Jim Condos, said it goes beyond what the state can publicly disclose.

In Missouri, Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said he is happy to "offer our support in the collective effort to enhance the American people's confidence in the integrity of the system." Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, said he'll provide what state law allows.

So far, at least 21 states have opposed the request, including: California, Connecticut, Indiana, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, New Mexico, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Vermont, Washington and Wisconsin 

Read the commission's letter below:

PEIC Letter to Kentucky by WCPO Web Team on Scribd