Trump’s Election Investigation Is Already Facing Trouble

State officials are refusing to disclose data the commission wants, sometimes pointing to their own laws.

WASHINGTON ― President Donald Trump’s com­mis­sion on elec­tion integri­ty is fac­ing sig­nif­i­cant hur­dles, as mul­ti­ple state elec­tion offi­cials have said they will not com­ply with the panel’s request this week for spe­cif­ic, sen­si­tive vot­er infor­ma­tion.

Even some Republican offi­cials have said that they may be opposed to or pro­hib­it­ed from releas­ing such infor­ma­tion or that they’re oth­er­wise will­ing to do only the bare min­i­mum in sat­is­fy­ing the Trump commission’s demands.

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach ®, the commission’s vice chair who signed the let­ter sent to the states on Wednesday, told the Kansas City Star that his state would not release the last four dig­its of vot­ers’ Social Security num­bers because that infor­ma­tion is not pub­licly avail­able.

Kobach now says Kansas won’t be shar­ing the last 4 social. Update com­ing on http://KansasCity​.com  soon 

The request­ed infor­ma­tion includes the “full first and last names of all reg­is­trants, mid­dle names or ini­tials if avail­able, address­es, dates of birth, polit­i­cal par­ty (if record­ed in your state), last four dig­its of social secu­ri­ty num­ber if avail­able, vot­er his­to­ry (elec­tions vot­ed in) from 2006 onward, active/​inactive sta­tus, can­celled sta­tus, infor­ma­tion regard­ing any felony con­vic­tions, infor­ma­tion regard­ing vot­er reg­is­tra­tion in anoth­er state, infor­ma­tion regard­ing mil­i­tary sta­tus, and over­seas cit­i­zen infor­ma­tion.”

Critics are fear­ful that sen­si­tive pri­vate data could become pub­lic if giv­en to the com­mis­sion and that inves­ti­ga­tors will use that infor­ma­tion to cre­ate an inac­cu­rate pic­ture of vot­er fraud ― a rel­a­tive­ly rare phe­nom­e­non in the U.S.

In Alabama, Secretary of State John Merrill ® said his office wouldn’t share any infor­ma­tion that wasn’t already avail­able to the pub­lic. He left open the pos­si­bil­i­ty that his office would decline to pro­vide any data on the state’s vot­ers to the com­mis­sion.

The Secretary of State’s Office will com­ply with the request if we are con­vinced that the over­all effort will pro­duce the nec­es­sary results to accom­plish the Commission’s stat­ed goal with­out com­pro­mis­ing the integri­ty of the vot­er rolls and the elec­tions process in Alabama,” Merrill said in a state­ment to HuffPost.

In North Dakota, elec­tions direc­tor John Arnold told HuffPost that state law pro­hib­it­ed releas­ing that kind of infor­ma­tion except to a “few enti­ties, but a pres­i­den­tial vot­er com­mis­sion isn’t one of them.”

Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske ® said in a state­ment that her office would pro­vide pub­licly avail­able infor­ma­tion, but wouldn’t release Social Security num­bers, driver’s license num­bers, DMV iden­ti­fi­ca­tion cards or email address­es.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) wrote Kobach that his state “can­not share this infor­ma­tion,” refer­ring to Social Security num­bers, birth dates and driver’s license num­bers. He added that Kobach could pur­chase the state’s vot­er file “like any cit­i­zen” for $20.

Several states said they would dis­close only the bare min­i­mum required by pub­lic dis­clo­sure laws. Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox ® said Utah would share just pub­licly avail­able infor­ma­tion and not “any pro­tect­ed data.” Wisconsin elec­tion offi­cials sim­i­lar­ly said that they would dis­close already pub­lic infor­ma­tion ― like names, address­es and vot­ing his­to­ries ― and that state law pro­hib­it­ed them from releas­ing more sen­si­tive per­son­al data. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) direct­ed the state board of elec­tions not to release infor­ma­tion to the com­mis­sion “beyond what is pub­lic record.”

Even Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson ®, a mem­ber of the com­mis­sion, said she is legal­ly barred from pro­vid­ing all of the infor­ma­tion request­ed.

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,” Lawson said in a state­ment.

Officials in California, Kentucky, Virginia, New York and Massachusetts have all flat­ly stat­ed that they won’t ful­fill the commission’s request.

The cen­tral vot­er reg­istry is not a pub­lic record,” said Brian McNiff, a spokesman for William Francis Galvin, the sec­re­tary of the com­mon­wealth in Massachusetts.

Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann ® said com­mis­sion mem­bers could “go jump in the Gulf of Mexico.”

The Minnesota and South Dakota sec­re­taries of state said they would not com­ply with the commission’s request. Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett ® said he was legal­ly pro­hib­it­ed from pro­vid­ing the data the probe was request­ing.

Some states have said they will com­ply with the data request. But even in those cas­es, they are unlike­ly to sat­is­fy all of the commission’s objec­tives.

The Georgia sec­re­tary of state’s office, for exam­ple, said it would hand over a vot­er list. But an offi­cial said that list does not con­tain driver’s license num­bers, Social Security num­bers, months and days of birth, sites of vot­er reg­is­tra­tion, phone num­bers or email address­es.

Bryan Dean, a spokesman for Oklahoma’s elec­tion board, said that his state’s office like­wise would sup­ply the com­mis­sion with “pub­licly avail­able vot­er roll data under the laws of our state.” But Dean not­ed that Social Security num­bers are not avail­able. Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pâté ® said in a state­ment that his office would com­ply with the request, but that Iowa law pro­hibits releas­ing per­son­al infor­ma­tion like Social Security num­bers.

During an MSNBC inter­view on Friday, Kobach defend­ed the infor­ma­tion request.

The com­mis­sion is only request­ing what any per­son on the street in California can walk into a coun­ty elec­tion office and get,” he said. “So if a Social Security num­ber is not pub­licly avail­able ― and it is not pub­licly avail­able in most states ― then we aren’t request­ing it. If it is pub­licly avail­able, if the pub­lic can get it, then the com­mis­sion would like it too.”

Citing a February 2012 Pew study, Kobach said there could be some 1.8 mil­lion deceased vot­ers on state rolls.

We could actu­al­ly find out what the real num­ber is if we take the vot­er rolls of the states and we match them with the Social Security Administration’s list of peo­ple who have died,” he said. “Let’s find out what the real num­ber is. And then if you have the vot­er his­to­ry, you can say how many of these names appear to have vot­ed after the date of death.”

HuffPost con­tact­ed all 50 states in an attempt to get a fuller pic­ture of what type of com­pli­ance the Trump admin­is­tra­tion could expect. Numerous offi­cials said they were still review­ing the request. But regard­less of what they decide, the com­mis­sion seems like­ly to end up with an incom­plete and incon­sis­tent data set. http://​www​.huff​in​g​ton​post​.com/​e​n​t​r​y​/​t​r​u​m​p​-​v​o​t​e​r​-​f​r​a​u​d​-​i​n​v​e​s​t​i​g​a​t​i​o​n​_​u​s​_​5​9​5​6​9​a​a​9​e​4​b​0​5​c​3​7​b​b​7​e​2​f​9​d​?​n​c​i​d​=​i​n​b​l​n​k​u​s​h​p​m​g​0​0​0​0​0​009