The head of President Donald Trump's commission tasked with investigating election fraud in the United States lashed out at the news media on Wednesday, accusing the press of disseminating 'fake news' about the refusal and reluctance of some states to cooperate with a request for voter information by the panel.
"While there are news reports that 44 states have "refused" to provide voter information to the Commission, these reports are patently false, more "fake news," said a written statement issued by the White House from Kris Kobach, the Secretary of State in Kansas.
But a review of the responses to Kobach's request show while many states are providing data - most have ruled out certain information, mainly the request for the last four digits of a voter's Social Security number.
Kobach says 14 states and the District of Columbia have refused to provide information, while 20 states have agreed to "provide publicly available voter data as permitted under their state laws."
Kobach's panel, known as the "Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity" had asked states in a letter last week to provide data about voters in their respective states, which included the following information:
+ The "publicly available voter roll data" for each state
+ The "full first and last names of all registrants, middle names or initials if available"
+ Addresses, dates of birth, political party (if recorded) on state voters
+ The "last four digits of social security number if available"
+ "Voter history (elections voted in) from 2006 onward"
+ Voter status - whether "active/inactive"
+ information "regarding any felony convictions"
+ information "regarding voter registration in another state"
+ information "regarding military status" of voters
+ data on "overseas citizen information"
A number of states - even many with Republican Secretaries of State - have said they will turn over information that is already publicly available, but will not send in items like last four digits of a voter's Social Security number.
While Kobach protested that news reports saying 44 states had refused to provide all that data were false, it is obvious from the individual responses that few states publicly welcomed the federal request for this voter data, and most refused to honor at least one request, that being for the Social Security data.
Here is a list of states, with links to their decisions about the Kobach request - when possible, a link directly to the Secretary of State or state elections board was used. News stories were included in cases where no direct statements were readily available:
KANSAS - Kansas is home to the chair of the election panel, Secretary of State Kris Kobach. Even Kobach was unable to fulfill the request that his panel made of every state, as like other states, Kansas will not send in any Social Security numbers linked to state voter rolls.
NEW HAMPSHIRE -
NEW MEXICO -
NEW YORK -
NORTH CAROLINA -
NORTH DAKOTA -
RHODE ISLAND -
SOUTH CAROLINA - South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster used a series of tweets to say that his state would supply some data to the Kobach panel, but - like other states - never send along Social Security information as well.
SOUTH DAKOTA -
Judging from the responses, an overwhelming majority of the states are not sending in all of the information that was requested by the Kobach panel.
But it is also true that many states are sending in data, which is already publicly available.