Five states on Monday joined those refusing to hand over personal voter information to a new White House commission on election fraud, dealing a further blow to President Donald Trump’s effort to validate his unsubstantiated claim that millions voted illegally last year.
Maryland, Delaware, Louisiana, Maine and Wyoming officials joined those in more than 20 other states refusing to hand over part or all of the personal voter data requested by a commission Trump formed to investigate election fraud. The commission is seeking partial Social Security numbers, political party registration, addresses and other details from officials in every state.
Officials in at least half of U.S. states, including some led by Republicans, have now said they will not cooperate with Trump’s commission, at least in part. Some say state law prevents the release of the information, while others have denounced the probe as an attempt to soothe Trump’s ego over losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton, and as a way to justify further voter-suppression efforts.
“I find this request repugnant,” Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh (D) said on Twitter. “Repeating a false story of expansive voter fraud, and then creating a commission to fuel that narrative, does not make it any more true.”
Delaware Elections Commissioner Elaine Manlove (D), had a more subdued response, but said the release of such information “would not serve the mission of safeguarding the fairness and integrity of elections” in the state. She told Delaware Public Media, the local NPR affiliate, voters were “outraged” at the request.
“I have not had one request saying ‘please send my information.’ Every request I have is ‘please do not send my information,’” she said.
Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap (D) said he could not “comply with the request and also comply with the law.”
The criticism has not been confined to the Democratic Party. Several Republican officials have joined others in the GOP in condemning the commission’s request.
Wyoming’s Republican Secretary of State, Ed Murray said he would decline to provide any data to the White House, saying the idea was “not sitting well with me.”
Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler (R) said Trump would not “play politics” with the state’s voter data.
“The president’s commission has quickly politicized its work by asking states for an incredible amount of voter data that I have, time and time again, refused to release,” Schedler said in a statement. “My response to the commission is, you’re not going to play politics with Louisiana’s voter data, and if you are, then you can purchase the limited public information available by law, to any candidate running for office. That’s it.”
The growing resistance to the commission’s request is likely to further fuel Trump’s rage. He tweeted his ire at the initial spate of state refusals over the weekend.