After weeks of legal battles and bipartisan pushback from top election officials nationwide, President Trump’s voter fraud commission has renewed a message for the states: It’s safe to pass along your data about voters. “Individuals’ voter registration records will be kept confidential and secure throughout the duration of the commission’s existence,” Kris Kobach, vice chairman of the commission, wrote in a letter sent late Wednesday to all 50 secretaries of state. Even so, by Thursday, much of the criticism that greeted an earlier request from the commission was repeated by election officials and activists, who have expressed concerns about privacy and have called the panel both a sham created by an insecure president and a tool to suppress votes. … The letter from Kobach is the second in less than a month requesting that secretaries of state submit voter data to the so-called Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.
On June 28, Kobach, a Republican who as Kansas’ secretary of state has helped create some of the strictest voter ID laws in the country, wrote to top election officials requesting, among other things, names, addresses and the last four digits of Social Security numbers.
In the days after Kobach’s June 28 letter, 21 states and the District of Columbia declined to provide any data, according to a tally by the Brennan Center for Justice, a public policy institute that focuses on, among other things, voting rights.
Other states, citing local laws, agreed to provide some, but not all of the data requested. States have been especially cool to providing even a portion of a person’s Social Security number.