At least 44 of America’s 50 states have refused to hand over all or parts of their voter databases to the federal government, blowing a hole in President Donald Trump’s plans to crack down on what he calls “voter fraud.”
Last week, the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity sent out letters to the leaders of all states, asking them to provide a bevy of data, including the names, addresses, birth dates and party affiliations of registered voters.
The response was far away from what Trump had hoped for as a CNN inquiry on Monday showed that most state leaders and voting boards across the country had either agreed to limited cooperation or turned down the request in its entirety.
Signed by commission vice chairman and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican, the letter, even asked the states to reveal the voters’ felony convictions, military statuses, the last four digits of Social Security numbers and voting records dating back to 2006.
The request drew outrage in most Democratic states but even Republican dominated states such as Texas had problems with it and said they would exclude such confidential data as date of birth and social security numbers.
Maryland, on the other hand, called the request “repugnant” in a letter to Kobach and said providing the requested data was “prohibited under State and/or federal law.”
US President Donald Trump (L) and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (File photo)
Kobach has defended the request, saying the letter clearly asked for info that was available in “public.”
“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
In another interview, he told CNN that the data he was looking for was basically “whatever a person on the street can walk in and get.”
Citing a Pew Center research, he said at least 1.8 million dead people were still on voter rolls and his commission’s aim was to detect facts like that rather than proving Trump’s claims.
“First of all, the commission is not to prove or disprove what the President speculated about in January,” Kobach said. “The purpose of the commission is to find facts and put them on the table. Importantly, it’s a bipartisan commission.”
Trump won about 3 million votes less than his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, in their November 8 face-off but sealed the victory by winning the Electoral College vote, 304-227.
He has openly blamed his popular vote loss on voter fraud without providing any evidence.