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. The commission sent one request in late June and another in July after a court said the data collection could move ahead.
Secretary of State John Merrill, a Republican, said the commission can buy the information at a cost of more than $32,000. And it will exclude information such as Social Security and driver’s license numbers.
Division of Elections Director Josie Bahnke says she will respond to the request as she would to any request for voter information. Some information, she said, can be provided, like voter names, voting histories and party affiliations. But other information is considered confidential and would not be provided.
After initially saying the state would provide some records, Secretary of State Michele Reagan, a Republican, did an about-face and said the state wouldn’t provide extensive voter registration information to the Trump administration. But on July 27, a spokesman said Reagan was asking a special counsel to review the latest version of the request. When she nixed sharing anything, Reagan cited privacy concerns.
Arkansas says it’s received the letter and will provide publicly available information but not Social Security numbers, driver’s license numbers or information about felony convictions or military status. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he recommended the secretary of state not release all the information, calling the panel’s request too broad.
Secretary of State Alex Padilla, a Democrat, reiterated his refusal to provide information to the commission on July 26. “The commission’s new request does nothing to address the fundamental problems with the commission’s illegitimate origins, questionable mission or the preconceived and harmful views on voting rights that many of its commissioners have advanced,” he said in a statement. “Let me reassure voters: I will not provide this commission with Californians’ personal voter data. I will continue to do everything in my power to protect California citizens’ ability to exercise their rights to register and vote free of barriers and intimidation.”
Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, is providing all information permitted under state open records law — information available to anyone. What won’t be provided: Full dates of birth, driver’s license information, Social Security numbers. Urged commission to handle data securely.
Connecticut’s secretary of the state says her office plans to comply in part with a request for voter information from Trump’s commission investigating voter fraud in the 2016 election. Denise Merrill, a Democrat, says in the spirit of transparency the state will share publicly available information with the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. She says the state will ensure the privacy of voters is honored by withholding protected data.
After being inundated with calls from concerned citizens and meeting with her deputy attorney general, Delaware’s election commissioner said she will not provide the requested information. She also said she is drafting a policy stating that voter registration data, which is now available to anyone, will be made available only to candidates and political parties and only for political use, not for commercial purposes. She plans to follow up in January with legislation codifying the new policy. She had previously said she would not comply with the request for sensitive information, including birthdates, Social Security numbers and felony history. State law currently allows the commissioner to give voter registration data including names, addresses, political party, voting history, legislative district information and year of birth to members of the public.
DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
“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.
Florida on July 28 turned over data that it says is already public record under state law and is made available to other organizations that seek voter registration information. Secretary of State Ken Detzner, a Republican, previously told the commission that Florida law prohibits the state from turning over driver’s license information or Social Security numbers. He also said they would not turn over the names of voters whose information is protected, such as judges or police officers. Sarah Revell, a spokeswoman for Detzner, said, “As we have said all along, we will follow Florida law and will only submit information that is already available and regularly provided to anyone who requests it.” A group of plaintiffs, including the American Civil Liberties Union, did file a lawsuit and requested a temporary restraining order. But a U.S. district judge ruled that Florida could go ahead and deliver information that was publicly available under state law.
“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.” Secretary of State Brian Kemp’s spokeswoman Candice Broce said the state had received the second letter from the commission in late July. The state has not responded yet. Broce said the state didn’t provide any information to the first request and never received the $250 payment that the state charges anyone who wants a copy of the registered voter file.
Scott Nago, elections chief for Hawaii, said July 24 that his office still has not received an official request. He said the Trump administration sent the request to the lieutenant governor’s office, which is not responsible for elections in Hawaii. Nago also said his office received an email saying to hold off on sending the data because of lawsuits. Nago said if the elections office does receive the request, he will then forward it on to the county clerks, who are responsible for the information. According to state law, the counties would be able to release the voter’s name, precinct and voting status — meaning whether the voter is active or inactive — because those details are public record, Nago said. But the voters’ address, Social Security number, driver’s license number, mailing address and voting history would not be released.
Secretary of State Lawerence Denney, a Republican, has said he will provide public information but not information considered private.
Ken Menzel, general counsel for the Illinois State Board of Elections, said the board will consider the new request at its Aug. 22 meeting but won’t provide any information without board approval and notice to the public. He has previously said the board won’t provide information to the commission. In a letter to the commission, he said Illinois law limits the release of voter information to political committees and government entities, subject to a requirement that it not be released to the public. Menzel says that because the panel’s request indicates the data provided will be made publicly available, the state cannot turn it over.
“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,” Secretary of State Connie Lawson, a Republican, said.
Paul Pate, the Republican secretary of state, said: “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. The commission will have to follow the same process candidates, political parties, media organizations, and everyone else follows when requesting a voter list. Also, some Iowans are under the mistaken impression that the commission is asking for information on who you voted for in an election. Our ballots are secret and no one has that information. We will vigilantly protect Iowans’ private information and ensure our elections remain fair and clean.”
Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a Republican, is vice chairman of the commission, but even his office does not plan to provide the last four digits of Social Security numbers because that’s not publicly available 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,” 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.” On July 26, Grimes again told the commission no. The Democrat said, “The compilation of every American voter’s information would build a national voter registration database, which is unnecessary to improving our elections, opposite our Constitution and state’s rights, and puts voters’ privacy and personal data at risk.”
Secretary of State Tom Schedler, a Republican, won’t provide personal voter information, like Social Security numbers or birth dates. He says the commission can have the information that is publicly available — but only if the commission buys it like anyone else. Schedler calls the effort a politically motivated federal overreach. He said: “The release of private information creates a tremendous breach of trust with voters who work hard to protect themselves against identity fraud. That’s why it is protected by six federal laws and two state laws. This Commission needs to understand clearly, disclosure of such sensitive information is more likely to diminish voter participation rather than foster it. I have been fighting this kind of federal intrusion and overreach, and will continue to fight like hell for the people who trust me with the integrity of our election process.”
Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, a Democrat and member of the voting commission, initially rejected the request, saying state law allows voting data to be released only for specific purposes, such as get-out-the-vote drives. But he said July 27 that he’s reconsidering after being reassured by Kobach that the commission will not make individuals’ records public. “If we’re going to act as a commission, we should really be considering the entire request for data as a body, and determining what it is we’re researching and how to look for it,” Dunlap said.
Maryland’s election commissioner denied the request after receiving an opinion from Democratic Attorney General Brian Frosh, who said disclosure of the requested information is prohibited by law, and who also called the request for information “repugnant.” Frosh also said it appears to be designed only to intimidate voters and indulge Trump’s “fantasy” that he won the popular vote.
A spokesman for Secretary of State William Galvin, a Democrat, 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 will provide publicly available information but would exclude data including Social Security and driver’s license numbers and full dates of birth. Fred Woodhams also said the commission would have to make a freedom of information request and pay $23 to get the data.
Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat, announced he would not share the data with Trump’s commission. “I will not hand over personal data on the nearly four million Minnesotans who are registered to vote,” he said in a statement. “I have serious doubts about the commission’s credibility and trustworthiness, and I fear it risks becoming a partisan tool to shut out millions of eligible American voters. In addition, Minnesotans who registered to vote never thought their personal data would end up in some federal database.”
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 Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, 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.” Ashcroft’s spokeswoman, Maura Browning, said the state is only providing publicly available information. She said that means no Social Security numbers, no political affiliations and no details on how people voted.
Derek Oestreicher, the director of elections and voter services, said the secretary of state’s office will not release personal or confidential information such as Social Security numbers and birth dates. Information already available publicly in the state’s voter file includes a voter’s name, registration status, voting status and the reason the voter is designated as active or inactive. Voter information does not include party affiliation because Montana has an open primary system and voters do not register under any specific party.
Secretary of State John Gale, a Republican, says he’s willing to provide publicly available information but only with assurances that the data won’t be used in a way that runs afoul of state law. State law prohibits the use of data for commercial purposes and does not allow the release of Social Security numbers. Additionally, the law doesn’t allow the release of information such as felony convictions or whether a voter’s registration status is active or inactive, so Gale won’t release that information. Gale said he has concerns about voter privacy and wants assurances that information is protected in any kind of national database.
Republican Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske says her office has not changed its position in the wake of the renewed commission request. It will provide public information but not data kept confidential under state law such as Social Security numbers or how people voted. The state will turn over voter names, addresses, telephone numbers, dates of birth, party affiliation and turnout.
Secretary of State Bill Gardner, a Democrat and a member of the 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. Gardner spent several hours on Independence Day taking calls from angry residents and said the next day that he disagrees with critics who say he lacks legal authority to send voter roll information. He said he’s asking the state attorney general for an opinion.
State election officials they are reviewing a request by Trump’s voting commission but would only release information that is publicly available. Robert Giles, director of New Jersey’s division of elections, said no information has been released. He said no information will be given out if it doesn’t “follow the appropriate legal process for information requests.”
Democratic Secretary of State Maggie Toulouse-Oliver has reaffirmed that 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 says that sharing that information with the commission may discourage people from registering to vote. She has declined to provide information such as names and voting histories unless she is convinced the information is secure and will not be used for “nefarious or unlawful purposes.”
Officials announced Aug. 2 that they would honor a new public information request from the commission but would not supply some details, such as Social Security numbers. This represents a reversal for the state. Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the state would not comply, in part because the state “refuses to perpetuate the myth voter fraud played a role in our election.”
North Carolina’s elections board is providing data requested by Trump’s commission investigating alleged voter fraud. But the records will not include personal information deemed confidential in law, including dates of birth and Social Security numbers.
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.
Secretary of State Jon Husted, a Republican, issued a statement saying that voter registration information is already public and available to the commission but that he will not provide the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers or their driver’s license numbers. He also said voter fraud is rare in the state and bipartisan boards have reviewed credible reports of voter fraud and suppression after the last three federal elections. Those results are in the public domain and available to the commission, he said. He added, “In responding to the commission, we will have ideas on how the federal government can better support states in running elections. However, we will make it clear that we do not want any federal intervention in our state’s right and responsibility 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,” Bryan Dean said. 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 a form available online asking for the information. Oklahoma’s voter roll is routinely provided to political campaigns, the press and other groups that ask for it. Dean reaffirmed on July 27 that the agency will provide the same information to the commission that is available to the general public.
Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, a Republican, wrote a letter Friday to President Donald Trump’s commission vice chairman Kris Kobach saying it could receive a statewide list of voters for $500, just like anyone else. However, he noted that he’s barred legally from disclosing Social Security and driver’s license numbers. Two members of Oregon’s congressional delegation and Democratic Gov. Kate Brown had urged Richardson to refuse the request. Richardson said in the letter to Kobach that there is “very little evidence” of voter fraud or registration fraud in Oregon. “I do not believe the federal government should be involved in dictating how states conduct their elections,” he said.
Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat, wrote a long letter saying that the state will not cooperate at all but that the state will sell them the same data the public can purchase. It can’t be posted online, however.
Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea, a Democrat, says she won’t share some of the voter information requested by the presidential commission. Gorbea says she won’t release Social Security information or information regarding felony or military status.
Deny, but it’s being obtained through a third party.
The state’s election commission said in a statement that “release of voter data to anyone who is not a registered South Carolina voter is not permitted by state law. The agency may only provide voter data to registered South Carolina voters. This rule is not specific to the PACEI request and applies to any request for voter data from any individual or organization from outside the state.” But voter data (except party affiliation and Social Security numbers) are available to South Carolina residents for $2,500 as long as it isn’t used for commercial purposes. So Republican Party Chairman Drew McKissick has said he will buy the information and give it to the commission.
A spokesman for Secretary of State Shantel Krebs, a Republican, said in early July that she won’t share voter information with Trump’s commission. But on July 27, a spokesman for Krebs says that she has received the second letter and will be reviewing it.
Secretary of State Tre Hargett, a Republican: “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.”
Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos, a Republican, said 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 already publicly available in Texas. Social Security numbers are not releasable 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 data including voters’ Social Security numbers and dates of birth are protected.
Democratic Secretary of State Jim Condos said he is bound by law to provide the publicly available voter file, which does not contain 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 Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe.
Secretary of State Kim Wyman, a Republican, says the state will send the commission names, addresses and birthdates of registered voters because they are public record. She said Social Security information, driver’s license numbers, phone numbers and email addresses won’t be released because they aren’t public records.
Republican Secretary of State Mac Warner’s office said in a statement that state law prohibits disclosing Social Security and driver’s license numbers, phone numbers and some other details. The office also notes that it can charge $500 for the voter registration list and another $500 for data that shows elections in which each voter cast a ballot.
Administrator Mike Haas issued a statement saying most of the information in the state’s voter registration system is public, including voters’ names, addresses and voting history. The state doesn’t collect any data about a voter’s political preference or gender, he said.
The data is available for purchase and must be release to buyers, Haas said, adding that the commission routinely sells the information to political parties, candidates and researchers. The commission would charge the presidential panel $12,500 for the data, the maximum amount allowed under agency rules, he said. State law doesn’t contain any provisions for waiving the fee, he said. Wisconsin law allows the commission to share voter birthdates, driver’s license numbers and Social Security numbers only with police and other state agencies, and the presidential commission doesn’t appear to qualify, he said.
Secretary of State Ed Murray, a Republican, said in a statement that he would “safeguard the privacy of Wyoming’s voters because of my strong belief in a citizen’s right to privacy.” Also, he expressed concern the request could lead to “federal overreach.”
Information compiled by Associated Press reporters in each state and the District of Columbia.