Key governors balk at cooperating with presidential commission on election integrity

by WorldTribune Staff, July 2, 2017

Officials – most of them Democrats – in several states have said they will not comply with the Trump administration’s Election Integrity Commission, which is requesting voter information from all 50 states going back to 2006.

Kris Kobach, secretary of state of Kansas and vice chairman of the commission, sent a letter last week to 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.

Vice President Mike Pence is heading up President Donald Trump’s Election Integrity Commission. / Getty Images

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, Kobach’s letter said.

Led by Vice President Mike Pence, the commission is scheduled to meet for the first time this month. Pence has said the group’s goal is to “protect and preserve the principle of one person, one vote.”

Trump has said several million noncitizens voted in the 2016 election, costing him the popular vote. Recent studies have confirmed that noncitizens by the millions have voted in U.S. elections since 2008.

Related: Reports back Trump’s claim on Democrat strategy for illegal votes, June 25, 2017

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, said “I have no intention of honoring this request,” adding the commission is “politically motivated.”

“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.”

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.”

“They’re not going to get it. It’s not a public record,” a spokesman for Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin said, according to CommonWealth magazine.

Gov. Gina Raimondo of Rhode Island and Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York, both Democrats, and Gov. Phil Bryant of Mississippi, a Republican, also said they would not comply with Kobach’s letter.

Washington Times political correspondent Ralph Hallow, in a Facebook post, blasted the non-compliance:

“What in the name of the home of the brave and the free on its independence day is going on? Trump Election Integrity Commission asked all state governments to provide publicly available voter registration information so federal government can match voters names and last 4 SS digits with list noncitizens in U.S. such as green card holders, expired visa holders and known illegal aliens. Why did GOP governor of Mississippi say no and tell Trump to go jump in lake? I understand 11 other governors also have said no and claimed fed request violates constitutional right of privacy. Absurd claim on face of it. We all want to know how many noncitizens register and vote in violation of law and the U.S. Constitution. Or I thought we all did. I know I do.”

Kobach 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.

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