Officials in nearly every state say they cannot or will not turn over all of the voter data President Trump’s voting commission is seeking, dealing what could be a serious blow to Trump’s attempts to bolster his claims that widespread fraud cost him the popular vote in November. The commission’s request for a massive amount of state-level data last week included asking for all publicly available information about voter rolls in the states, such as names of all registrants, addresses, dates of birth, partial Social Security numbers and other data. It immediately encountered criticism and opposition, with some saying it could lead to an invasion of privacy and others worrying about voter suppression. The states that won’t provide all of their voter data grew to a group of at least 44 by Wednesday, including some, such as California and Virginia, that said they would provide nothing to the commission. Others said they are hindered by state laws governing what voter information can be made public but will provide what they can.
Pushback has swept across red and blue states alike, drawing in Democratic critics of the president and Republicans uneasy about a broad federal request they suggest intrudes on states’ rights. That sentiment has been notable for including Republicans such as Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan, who called the commission’s request a “hastily organized experiment,” and Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler, who described it as “federal intrusion and overreach.”
The backlash cast a shadow over a probe Trump said could lead officials to “strengthen up voting procedures.” In his executive order, Trump said the group would issue a report identifying “vulnerabilities … that could lead to improper voter registrations and improper voting.” He named Vice President Pence as the chair and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R), a leading conservative voice on concerns about voter fraud, as vice chair.