In a rebuttal to states that have announced they would not comply with President Donald Trump's request to supply voter data to his commission on election integrity, the panel's vice chair on Friday questioned if perhaps they had something to hide.
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach said the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity can't force states to comply with the request or any recommendations the commission might make, The Hill reported Friday.
"Frankly, if a state like Kentucky or California won't provide available information, one has to ask the question, 'Why not?'" Kobach told NPR Friday. "I mean, what are they trying to hide if they don't want a presidential advisory commission to study their state voter rolls?"
Trump has repeatedly questioned the validity of voter registration rolls, but Kobach said "I don't know" when asked if he believed the president's claim that millions voted illegally in the 2016 presidential election.
At last count, 25 states have said they would not turn over the data requested by the commission, The Washington Post reported.
Information asked for included names, addresses, birth dates and party affiliations of registered voters in each state, as well as felony convictions, military statuses, the last four digits of Social Security numbers and voting records dating back to 2006, The Hill detailed.
Republican commission member Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson said her state would be among those not fulfilling the request explaining, "Indiana law doesn't permit the secretary of state to provide the personal information requested by Secretary Kobach."
Lawson added the only information publicly available in Indiana was "name, address and congressional district assignment."
Kentucky's Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, a Democrat, told MSNBC on Friday the request wouldn't be fulfilled "on my watch," adding, there wasn't "enough bourbon here in Kentucky to make this request seem sensible," according to the Hill.
And, Rep. Marc Veasey, a Texas Democrat, introduced a bill to deny funding for the commission, claiming the president was endangering "the sanctity of our nation's democracy" with his claims of voter fraud, the Washington Examiner reported Friday.
Kobach defended the request for the information, maintaining the commission's purpose was not "to prove or disprove what President Trump said." Though there has been no hard evidence to back up the president's claim, Kobach said it "depends on what you define as evidence."
"You don't have hard data, but it is certainly something we may be able to see some evidence [of]. I seriously doubt we will have a definitive answer, but why not collect evidence and get the facts on the table?" he asked.
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