For the second time in less than a month, California’s chief elections officer has refused to hand over data to President Trump’s voter fraud commission, arguing on Wednesday that the inquiry is still part of an “illegitimate” exercise. “I still have the same concerns,” Secretary of State Alex Padilla said. “I can’t in good conscience risk the privacy of voters in California with this commission.” The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which met for the first time last week, originally asked for the information from California and other states on June 29. A federal court refused last week to block the commission’s request, though as many as 21 states have insisted they won’t hand over details on voter names, addresses and political party affiliations.
“I want to assure you that the Commission will not publicly release any personally identifiable information regarding any individual voter or any group of voters from the voter registration records you submit,” said Kris Kobach, the vice-chairman of the panel and Kansas secretary of state, in the letter to Padilla on Wednesday.
But Padilla insists that while his office does provide some voter information to academics, journalists and political campaigns, state law gives him the power to refuse any request. And in an interview with The Times, he said it is unclear who the commission or its staff would share the information with once it has been submitted.