Skip Navigation
Resource

Responses to the “Voter Fraud” Commission’s Voter File Data Request

The vice chair of Trump’s “Voter Fraud” Commission sent letters to state election officials requesting voter data. These are the responses.

Published: October 5, 2017

On June 28, Kris Kobach — the vice chair of Trump’s “Voter Fraud” Commis­sion — sent letters to chief state elec­tion offi­cials request­ing they submit “publicly-avail­able data from state voter rolls and feed­back on how to improve elec­tion integ­rity” by July 14. The Bren­nan Center filed lawsuits in Indi­anaTexas, and Utah to prevent offi­cials from submit­ting data in a manner that did not comply with state law. The ACLU of New Hamp­shireCommon Cause, the Elec­tronic Privacy Inform­a­tion Center (EPIC), the Idaho State Demo­cratic Party, and Public Citizen also filed lawsuits in state and federal court to block the Commis­sion’s request. 

Former national secur­ity offi­cials writ­ing in The Wash­ing­ton Post and The Hill have warned that a cent­ral repos­it­ory of voter data would be a target for hack­ers. Privacy concerns promp­ted thou­sands of voters in Color­ado to cancel their regis­tra­tions, and elec­tion offi­cials in ArizonaMichiganNorth Caro­lina, and Vermont also repor­ted cancel­la­tions. 

On July 10, the Commis­sion instruc­ted states to hold off submit­ting data pending a ruling in EPIC’s lawsuit. By that time, 21 states and the District of Columbia had declined to provide any data, and others had expressed concern about releas­ing voters’ sens­it­ive inform­a­tion. Missis­sippi Secret­ary of State Delbert Hose­mann stated his “reply [to the request] would be: They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Missis­sippi is a great state to launch from.” 

Follow­ing the court’s denial to halt the request, Kobach issued a new letter on July 26 again asking states to submit voter data — ​but, emblem­atic of the Commis­sion’s general lack of trans­par­ency, Kobach’s fellow panel members were left out of this decision-making process. Maine Secret­ary of State Matthew Dunlap, who serves on the Commis­sion, said they never discussed renew­ing the request. So far, eight states have declined to provide any data in response to the July 26 request. 

States Declin­ing to Provide Any Data

States Impos­ing Condi­tion(s) Prior to Release of Data*

  • Alaska (high­light­ing fee require­ment)
  • Alabama (high­light­ing fee require­ment)
  • Geor­gia (high­light­ing fee require­ment)
  • Idaho (high­light­ing fee require­ment and formal request process)
  • Iowa (high­light­ing formal request process)
  • Louisi­ana (high­light­ing fee require­ment) 
  • New York (provid­ing data in response to formal Free­dom of Inform­a­tion Law request)
  • Oregon (high­light­ing fee require­ment)
  • Pennsylvania (high­light­ing fee require­ment)
  • South Dakota (high­light­ing fee require­ment and formal request process)
  • West Virginia (high­light­ing fee require­ment and formal request process)
  • Wiscon­sin (high­light­ing fee require­ment)

States Provid­ing Data That They Claim Is Not Shiel­ded Under State Law*

States That Have Not Publicly Issued a Decision

  • Arizona
  • Connecti­cut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois (request­ing more inform­a­tion from the Commis­sion before reach­ing a decision)
  • Mary­land
  • Massachu­setts 
  • Missis­sippi
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • Wyom­ing

Reac­tions from Civic Groups

 

*Assumes states that agreed to provide data in response to June 28 request will not change posi­tion in response to July 26 letter