Justice

These States Are Rejecting Trump's Latest Request

June 30th 2017

By:
Kyle Jaeger

At least 24 states are refusing to comply with the White House's request to turn over sensitive voter data as part of its controversial effort to "improve election integrity."

trump-glaring-down-from-podium

On Wednesday, Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state and vice chairman of President Donald Trump's Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, sent a letter to all 50 secretaries of state that asked for the name, address, birthday, party affiliation, last four Social Security digits, military status, and voting history of every registered voter in their respective states.

The request raised concerns that the data could be used to suppress voter turnout in upcoming elections. The letter also received pushback from lawmakers on both sides of the aisle for playing into the widely debunked theory that voter fraud is a widespread phenomenon. 

people voting

But in the days since the letter was sent out, secretaries of state from at least 24 states have publicly refused the request. Some officials said they would only provide voter data that is already publicly available, while others flatly refused to turn over any data to the commission.

Here are the states that have turned down the request so far, according to The Hill:

  1. Arizona
  2. California
  3. Connecticut
  4. Indiana
  5. Iowa
  6. Kentucky
  7. Massachusetts
  8. Minnesota
  9. Mississippi
  10. New Mexico
  11. Nevada
  12. New York
  13. North Dakota
  14. Ohio
  15. Oklahoma
  16. Pennsylvania
  17. Rhode Island
  18. South Dakota
  19. Tennessee
  20. Texas
  21. Utah
  22. Vermont
  23. Virginia
  24. Wisconsin

For certain states, compliance with the request would violate laws protecting personal information such as Social Security numbers and military status, The Washington Post reported. That includes Kansas, which means that Kobach himself is restricted from providing data included in the request.

Unlike previous state-led efforts to resist policies implemented by the Trump administration—such as the dissolution of sanctuary cities and the U.S. withdrawal from an international climate agreement—the states rejecting the election integrity committee request don't appear to be following party lines.

In Mississippi, for example, Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann (R), summarily rejected the committee's request, instructing its members to "go jump in the Gulf of Mexico" in a press release.

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson (R), a member of the Election Integrity Commission herself and the president of the National Association of Secretaries of State, said in a statement on Friday that "Indiana law doesn't permit the Secretary of State to provide the personal information requested by Secretary Kobach."

"Under Indiana public records laws, certain voter info is available to the public, the media, and any other person who requested the information for non-commercial purposes," Lawson said. "The information publicly available is name, address, and congressional district assignment."

Trump signed an executive order establishing his Election Integrity Commission on May 11—months after the president suggested there was evidence that millions of illegal votes had been cast in the 2016 presidential election. No such evidence has been made public, and election officials in states around the U.S. have denied the president's claim.