Kris Kobach, the current Kansas Secretary of State and new candidate for governor, announced this week that he is demanding states provide him with voter rolls so that his federally appointed commission can investigate the degree to which there was voter fraud in the 2016 election.
A total of 19 states are putting their foot down and saying “no,” including CA, CT, IN, KY, MA, MN, MS, NC, NM, NV, NY, OH, OK, RI, TN, UT, VA, VT and WA. However, according to Kansas City Star reporter Bryan Lowry, Kobach’s own state is now also refusing to comply.
Kobach called the decision “fine” and agreed that he wouldn’t be sending personal data as well. To prove that voter fraud took place at the hands of non-citizens, as President Donald Trump has alleged, social security numbers would be needed.
“In Kansas, the Social Security number is not publicly available. … Every state receives the same letter but we’re not asking for it if it’s not publicly available,” Kobach told The Star. However, he hasn’t ruled out giving the information up in the future.
“If the commission decides that they would like to receive Social Security numbers to a secure site in order to remove false positives, then we would have to double check and make sure Kansas law permits,” Kobach said.
Other states are specifically concerned about providing personal information to a federal commission.
“There has been no evidence of mass voter fraud in Utah and we look forward to helping the federal government better understand the steps we have taken to ensure the security and validity of Utah’s elections,” Lieutenant Governor Spencer J. Cox (R-UT) said in a statement. He argued it is his job to keep people’s personal information safe and secure.
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann was less polite. “My reply would be: They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great State to launch from,” he said in a statement.
“A recent State Board of Elections investigation already found there was no evidence of significant voter fraud in North Carolina. My staff has told the State Board of Elections that we should not participate in providing sensitive information beyond what is public record as it is unnecessary,” Gov. Roy Cooper (D-NC) echoed in a statement.
Kobach promised that nothing bad would happen, however.
“I know for a fact that this information would be secured and maintained confidentially,” he said.
The federal government has been hacked multiple times in the past. Every person that has gone through a government background check in the last 15 years “was probably affected,” according to the former President Barack Obama’s White House. Approximately 21.5 million people were impacted. The Federal Reserve was also hacked more than 50 times over a four-year period. Information for more than 100,000 taxpayers was compromised in 2016 after a hack. In 2014, ten federal agencies were hacked including the White House, State Department, Post Office, Healthcare.gov, the Government Accountability Office and even the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Kobach has not revealed how he will protect this data better than every other federal agency that has already been compromised.