On June 28, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the vice chair of Donald Trump’s presidential commission on “election integrity,” sent a letter to all 50 states requesting sweeping voter data, including Social Security numbers, party affiliation, criminal backgrounds, and military history.
At first, only a few states, like California, Kentucky, and Virginia, said no, denouncing the commission as “a waste of taxpayer money and a distraction from the real threats to the integrity of our elections today.” But over the holiday weekend, opposition to Kobach’s request dramatically increased from both red and blue states. As of Thursday evening, 48 states have refused to turn over private voter data to Trump’s commission. “I’ve been studying America’s election administration since 2000, and I’ve rarely seen a firestorm like this,” wrote MIT political scientist Charles Stewart III.
Illinois denies Kris Kobach request for voter data. 48 states now refusing to provide all of the data Kobach asked for pic.twitter.com/jhM3E4oqyh
— Ari Berman (@AriBerman) July 6, 2017
Twenty-one states are refusing to give Kobach any data and 27 states are handing over only limited public information on voters (a full list of the states appears below). Even Kobach couldn’t hand over Social Security numbers to himself because they’re not publicly available in Kansas. Two states have not yet responded.
Most notable is the strong opposition from Republican secretaries of state from red states like Mississippi, Louisiana, and Arizona. Mississippi’s Delbert Hosemann told Trump and Kobach to “go jump in the Gulf of Mexico”; Louisiana’s Tom Schedler said “the President’s Commission has quickly politicized its work by asking states for an incredible amount of voter data that I have, time and time again, refused to release”; Arizona’s Michele Reagan blasted “this hastily organized experiment.”