Trump commission head on states refusing to hand over voter data: ‘What are they trying to hide?’


The vice chair of President Trump’s commission on election integrity hit back at states that have announced they won’t comply with a request from the commission for voters data, asking Friday, “What are they trying to hide?”

In an interview with NPR’s “All Things Considered,” Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said that the commission doesn’t have the authority to force states to comply with its request for voter roll data, or any recommendations it may make.

“Frankly, if a state like Kentucky or California won’t provide available information, one has to ask the question, ‘Why not?’” Kobach said. “I mean, what are they trying to hide if they don’t want a presidential advisory commission to study their state voter rolls?”


At least two dozen states have pushed back or refused to comply with the commission’s request for voter data.

In a letter signed by Kobach, the commission asked for names, addresses, birth dates and party affiliations of registered voters in each state. It also sought felony convictions, military statuses, the last four digits of Social Security numbers and voting records dating back to 2006, according to a copy of the letter obtained by The Hill.

Even a member of the commission itself, Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson (R) announced in a statement that her state wouldn’t turn over certain information.

“Indiana law doesn’t permit the Secretary of State to provide the personal information requested by Secretary Kobach,” Lawson said. “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. The information publicly available is name, address and congressional district assignment.”

Kobach was also asked if he believes Trump’s claim – which he made without offering evidence – that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election, to which he replied, “I don’t know.”

“The commission’s purpose is not to prove or disprove what President Trump said,” Kobach said.

When pressed on why he didn’t agree with the consensus that there’s no evidence to back Trump’s claims, Kobach said it “depends on what you define as evidence.”

“You don’t have hard data, but it is certainly something we may be able to see some evidence [of]. I seriously doubt we will have a definitive answer, but why not collect evidence and get the facts on the table?”

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