How Each State is Answering Trump Voter Data Request
The state-by-state responses to a request for detailed voter data from President Donald Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which is investigating whether there was voter fraud in last year’s election.
Secretary of State John Merrill said he has questions about security and other issues. He wants those answered before turning over any information. He declined to detail the other issues.
Division of Elections Director Josie Bahnke says she will respond to it as she would to any request for voter information. Some information, she said, can be provided, such as voter names, voting histories and party affiliations. But other information is considered confidential and would not be provided.
Chris Powell, a spokesman from the secretary of state’s office, said the office had not yet received the letter and did not have a comment on the request.
“California’s participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud,” Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla, a Democrat, said in a statement.
Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, said he will provide some of the requested information. State law prohibits releasing Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers or dates of birth.
Connecticut’s secretary of state says her office plans to comply in part. Denise Merrill says in the spirit of transparency the state will share publicly available information. She says the state will ensure the privacy of voters is honored by withholding protected data.
The elections commissioner hasn’t received the letter, which may have gone to the secretary of state. The commissioner says state law would not allow release of birth dates or any part of Social Security numbers.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Deny
“The best thing I can do to instill confidence among DC residents in our elections is to protect their personally identifiable information from the Commission on Election Integrity. Its request for voter information, such as Social Security numbers, serves no legitimate purpose and only raises questions on its intent. I will join leaders of states around the country and work with our partners on the Council to protect our residents from this intrusion,” Democratic Mayor Muriel Bowser said in a statement.
Sarah Revell, a spokeswoman for Secretary of State Ken Detzner, said the state was reviewing the request but did not provide any additional information.
“The Georgia Secretary of State’s office will provide the publicly available voter list. As specified in Georgia law, the public list does not contain a registered voter’s driver’s license number, Social Security number, month and day of birth, site of voter registration, phone number or email address.”
Hawaii hasn’t received the request, said Nedielyn Bueno, voter services section head.
State Election Director Betsie Kimbrough said the office will fulfill the request if Secretary of State Lawerence Denney, a Republican, determines it complies with state public records law. The state allows handing over voter registration records that include voting history, but not Social Security numbers or dates of birth.
Illinois State Board of Elections spokesman Ken Menzel said the office has not yet received the letter. Once it’s received, they will review the request and decide how to proceed. However, Menzel noted that Illinois election code has provisions that limit which entities may receive voter information and what type of information can be released.
“Indiana law doesn’t permit the Secretary of State to provide the personal information requested by Secretary Kobach. 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,’’ Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson said in a statement.
State from Secretary of State Paul Pate: “My office received a letter from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity late Wednesday and has not yet responded to it. There is a formal process for requesting a list of registered voters, as specified in Iowa Code. We will follow that process if a request is made that complies with Iowa law. The official list request form is available on the Iowa Secretary of State’s website, sos.iowa.gov. Some voter registration information is a matter of public record. However, providing personal voter information, such as Social Security numbers, is forbidden under Iowa Code. We will only share information that is publicly available and complies with Iowa Code. I am attending a national meeting of Secretaries of State next week, where the Commission’s letter will likely be discussed.”
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is vice chairman of the commission, but even his office does plan to provide the last four digits of Social Security numbers because that information is not available to the public under Kansas law, spokeswoman Samantha Poetter said. All information that is publicly available will be provided.
“As the commonwealth’s secretary of state and chief election official, I do not intend to release Kentuckians’ sensitive personal data to the federal government,” Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes said in a statement. “The president created his election commission based on the false notion that ‘voter fraud’ is a widespread issue. It is not.”
“We have received the letter and are reviewing with staff and our attorneys to determine our response,” said Meg Casper Sunstrom, spokeswoman for Secretary of State Tom Schedler. “Our priority, as we’ve demonstrated in the past, will always be to protect voter’s protected, personal information. This includes Social Security numbers, mother’s maiden name and date of birth. As you know, voter lists are publicly available by law but only include limited information including name, address and voter history. Voter history is not how a voter cast their ballot; it’s whether they participated.” Sunstrom said Louisiana law prohibits the release of Social Security numbers.
Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap said he is reviewing with the attorney general’s office whether to comply with the request.
Maryland State Elections Administrator Linda Lamone said she has asked the state attorney general’s office for an opinion on how the board should respond. She received the letter Friday, after it was forwarded to her by the Maryland secretary of state’s office.
A spokesman for Secretary of State William Galvin said the state’s voter registry is not a public record, and information in it will not be shared with the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.
A spokesman for Republican Secretary of State Ruth Johnson said the department had not yet received the request and would review it if it does. Fred Woodhams said voter lists are public record under state law, and the department has no authority to deny voter data. It is common for political parties and candidates to obtain voter information, he said. “The department will provide voter information consistent with state law but will not provide info protected by state law.” He noted that voter info is readily available in many states for a nominal fee.
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat, announced Friday he would not share the data with Trump’s commission.
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, said in a statement Friday that he had not received the request for information from the Trump commission, but another secretary of state had forwarded the correspondence to him. In a federal court case after a contentious U.S. Senate primary in Mississippi in 2014, a group called True the Vote sued Mississippi seeking similar information about voters, and Hosemann fought that request and won. Hosemann said if he receives a request from the Trump commission, “My reply would be: They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico, and Mississippi is a great state to launch from.” Hosemann also said: “Mississippi residents should celebrate Independence Day and our state’s right to protect the privacy of our citizens by conducting our own electoral processes.”
In Missouri, Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said he is happy to “offer our support in the collective effort to enhance the American people’s confidence in the integrity of the system.” On Friday, Ashcroft spokeswoman Maura Browning said the state is providing only publicly available information. She said that means no Social Security numbers, no political affiliations and no details on how people voted.
A spokeswoman for the secretary of state said it’s not clear whether the request has been received.
Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske says her office will provide public information only, but not Social Security numbers or how people voted. The state will turn over voter names, addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, party affiliation and turnout.
NEW HAMPSHIRE: Partial
New Hampshire Secretary of State Bill Gardner, a member of the Trump commission, said his office will provide public information: names, addresses, party affiliations and voting history dating to 2006. Voting history includes whether someone voted in a general election and which party’s primary they voted in.
NEW JERSEY: Undecided
No response from spokeswoman for the Division of Elections.
NEW MEXICO: Deny
Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse-Oliver says she will never release personally identifiable information for New Mexico voters that is protected by law, including Social Security numbers and dates of birth. She also declined to provide information such as names and voting histories unless she is convinced the information is secured and will not be used for “nefarious or unlawful purposes.”
NEW YORK: Deny
Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday his decision not to comply with the commission’s request for information. He said state laws include safeguards to protect sensitive voting information and that the state “refuses to perpetuate the myth voter fraud played a role in our election.”
NORTH CAROLINA: Partial
North Carolina’s elections board will provide voter data requested this week by President Donald Trump’s commission investigating alleged voter fraud. But the records will not include personal information deemed confidential in state law, including dates of birth and Social Security numbers.
NORTH DAKOTA: Partial
North Dakota, the only state that does not have voter registration, does require identification at the polls and does have a central database of voters, compiled with the help of state Transportation Department records and county auditors. However, the information can be used only for “election-related purposes” under state law, such as compiling poll books for elections. “We certainly can’t comply with that part of the request, but we are going to submit a response,” Deputy Secretary of State Jim Silrum said.
Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted said Friday he will not turn over the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers or their driver’s license numbers to Trump’s commission. “Confidential info won’t be provided to Pres Advisory Comm on Election Integrity,” Husted said in a Twitter message. He later added, “We do not want fed intervention in our state’s right & respon to conduct elections.”
A spokesman for the Oklahoma State Election Board said the state will not provide the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers. “That’s not publicly available under the laws of our state,” said Bryan Dean. He said the commission’s request will be treated like any other from the general public. The election board will tell the panel to fill out an online form asking for the information. Oklahoma’s voter roll is routinely provided to political campaigns, the press and other groups that ask for it.
No response from the Secretary of State.
Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, wrote a letter saying the state will not cooperate, but said the state will sell the commission the same data the public can purchase. It cannot be posted online, however.
RHODE ISLAND: Partial
Rhode Island Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea says she won’t share some of the requested voter information, including Social Security numbers or information regarding felony or military status.
SOUTH CAROLINA: Undecided
The AP was unable to reach anyone from the Secretary of State’s office Friday.
SOUTH DAKOTA: Deny
A spokesman for South Dakota Secretary of State Shantel Krebs says the state will not share voter information with the Trump commission.
“Although I appreciate the commission’s mission to address election-related issues like voter fraud, Tennessee state law does not allow my office to release the voter information requested to the federal commission,” said Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, a Republican.
Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos said Friday he will provide the commission public information and “protect the private information of Texas citizens.” Much of the information requested, including names, addresses, date of birth and party data, are publicly available in Texas. Social Security numbers cannot be released under Texas law. Publicly available voter registration lists in Texas also do not include information about military status or criminal history.
Republican Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox says he will send information classified as public, but Social Security numbers and dates of birth are protected.
Vermont’s top election official, Democrat Jim Condos, said Friday he is bound by law to provide the publicly available voter file, but that does not include Social Security numbers or birth dates. Condos said he must first receive an affidavit signed by the commission chairman, as required by Vermont law. He said there is no evidence of the kind of fraud alleged by Trump. “I believe these unproven claims are an effort to set the stage to weaken our democratic process through a systematic national effort of voter suppression and intimidation,” he said.
“At best this commission was set up as a pretext to validate Donald Trump’s alternative election facts, and at worst is a tool to commit large-scale voter suppression,” said Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat.
Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican, says her office will send the commission names, addresses and birth dates of registered voters because they are public record. She will not send Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers or other information.
WEST VIRGINIA: Undecided
Secretary of State Mac Warner, a Republican, said in a statement that his office would review the request but is limited by state law in what it can provide.
Administrator Mike Haas issued a statement Friday saying most of the information in the state’s voter registration system is public, including voters’ names, addresses and voting history. The state does not collect any data about a voter’s political preference or gender, he said.
He said the state routinely sells the information to political parties, candidates and researchers. It would charge the presidential commission $12,500 for the data, the maximum amount allowed under agency rules, Haas said. State law doesn’t contain any provisions for waiving the fee, he said.
Wisconsin law allows the commission to share voter birth dates, driver’s license numbers and Social Security numbers only with police and other state agencies, and the presidential commission doesn’t appear to qualify, Haas said.
Officials did not respond Friday to multiple requests from the AP.