Hargett says state law prevents him from turning over requested voter data to Trump commission

A commission set up by President Trump’s administration has asked all 50 states for a list providing the names of all registered voters along with voter information including address, date of birth, political party, the last four digits of their social security number and voter history.

Tennessee is one of at least 27 states – according to a CNN survey – that had publicly declined the request as of Friday. In an email sent to media Friday, Secretary of State Tre Hargett, who oversees Tennessee’s election system, said:

“Although I appreciate the commission’s mission to address election-related issues, like voter fraud, Tennessee state law does not allow my office to release the voter information requested to the federal commission.”

Mary Mancini, chair of the Tennessee Democratic Party, sent media this statement:

“The only fraud that is occurring is the fraudulent commission being led by Vice President Pence and Sec. Kobach. Sec. Kobach has a disgusting history of perpetuating the myth of voter fraud as an excuse to purge legitimate voters from the rolls or to prevent them from registering in Kansas.  President Trump is trying to extend this tactic to the whole country. This is not unique to Donald Trump, this is a continuation of the systemic suppression of minority voters led by Republicans happening all over the country, including right here in Tennessee.”

The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is chaired by Vice President Mike Pence with Kris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State, as vice chairman. Kobach sent a letter to each state Wednesday asking for the information and asking a series of questions about election administration, voter fraud and the integrity of the process.

The New York Times reports Kobach has said he wants to match voter information with other data, like federal records of foreign residents and undocumented immigrants, to spotlight people who cast illegal ballots.

He asserts that such fraud is widespread in Kansas and elsewhere, although he has found scant evidence of it so far.

But a growing number of state election officials have indicated – sometimes politely, sometimes brusquely  — that they will not or cannot comply. Among them, ironically, were Mr. Kobach himself and a second member of the commission, Secretary of State Connie Lawson of Indiana, both of whom disclosed on Friday that privacy laws prevented them from furnishing some personal voter data.

…The pushback was bipartisan: The Mississippi secretary of state, Delbert Hosemann, said Friday… “My reply would be: They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great state to launch from.”

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