President Donald Trump lashed out on Saturday at the growing number of states refusing to give voters’ names, addresses and sensitive personal information to a commission he created to investigate alleged voter fraud.
“Numerous states are refusing to give information to the very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL. What are they trying to hide?” Trump said on Twitter.
More than 20 states have declined the requests, saying they are unnecessary and violated privacy, according to statements from election officials and media reports.
“This commission was formed to try to find basis for the lie that President Trump put forward that has no foundation,” Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes told Reuters previously in an interview.
Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity sent a letter to all 50 states on Wednesday asking them to turn over voter information including names, the last four digits of social security numbers, addresses, birth dates, political affiliation, felony convictions and voting histories.
Republican Trump has made unsubstantiated claims that millions of people voted illegally for his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton in the 2016 election. He established the panel by executive order in May despite evidence that voter fraud was not widespread.
The request from commission Vice Chairman Kris Kobach caused a backlash in states including Virginia, Kentucky, California, New York and Massachusetts, where election officials said they would not provide all the data.
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann had said in a statement that he did not see the letter but would rebuff the commission.
“They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great state to launch from,” he said.
(Reporting by Joel Schectman and Chris Kenning; Editing by Bernard Orr)