On Wednesday, June 28, Donald Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity sent letters to all 50 secretaries of state requesting voter names, addresses, dates of birth, party affiliations, voting histories back to 2006, active or inactive status, the last four digits of Social Security numbers, felony convictions and military status.
And state responses began rolling in immediately, and continue to do so. As of July 6, 20 states are refusing to comply, 23 states are partially complying and 8 states are undecided. No state has yet agreed to full compliance.
On June 29, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla released a statement saying that he would not provide sensitive voter information to a commission that "has already inaccurately passed judgment that millions of Californians voted illegally." He also said that it is his duty "to ensure the integrity of our elections and to protect the voting rights and privacy of our state's voters."
On June 30, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf tweeted that his state would be added to the list of states opting out of the request for voter data. "We will not participate in this systematic effort to suppress the vote," he wrote.
Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes spoke to NPR on June 30 about denying the White House's request for voter data.
“I do not intend to release Kentuckians’ sensitive personal data to the federal government,” Grimes said in a written statement. “The president created his election commission based on the false notion that ‘voter fraud’ is a widespread issue — it is not.”
Wisconsin Elections Commission Administrator Michael Haas said in a release that “Wisconsin statutes do not permit the state to release a voter’s date of birth, driver license number or Social Security number.” The state will, however, provide the commission with the other requested voter data.
Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos said his office will share publicly available information with the commission, but will not share partial Social Security numbers, as that information is not part of voter rolls. "The Secretary of State's office will provide the Election Integrity Commission with public information and will protect the private information of Texas citizens while working to maintain the security and integrity of our state's elections system," he said. "As always, my office will continue to exercise the utmost care whenever sensitive voter information is required to be released by state or federal law."
Rejecting the request on privacy and states' rights grounds, Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said on June 30 that "they can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico. Mississippi residents should celebrate Independence Day and our state's right to protect the privacy of our citizens by conducting our own electoral process."
Jessica Mulholland served as the Web editor of Government Technology magazine from October 2012 through September 2017. She worked for the Government Technology editorial team for nearly 10 years.