News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)

Over 20 states rebuff Trump panel on voters’ data

Trump: over 20 states rebuff Presidential panel on voters’ data

More than 20 states, including Virginia, Kentucky, California, New York and Massachusetts, have declined to provide some or all of the information, that a panel set up by President Donald Trump has asked them to supply.

The defiant states said the information being requested is unnecessary and violated privacy.

But President Donald Trump on his favourite Twitter megaphone, has lashed out at them, wondering what they are hiding.

“Numerous states are refusing to give information to the very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL,” he wrote on Twitter. “What are they trying to hide?”

The presidential panel probing alleged fraud in the 2016 November election has requested for voters’ names, addresses, the last four digits of Social Security numbers, birth dates, political affiliations, felony convictions and voting histories.

It was Trump that made the unsubstantiated allegation, after he lost the plural vote in the election to Hillary Clinton, but won the electoral college.

Trump wants the panel, called Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to probe ‘illegal voting by millions of people ‘ he believed voted for his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton.

Many states do not agree with the mission of the panel.

“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 said in an interview.

The request to the 50 states from the commission’s Vice Chairman Kris Kobach has caused a backlash from state election officials.

Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson said in a statement on Friday that while certain voter information is available to the public, the media, and any other person who requests the information, “the information is restricted to name, address and congressional district assignment.”

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.

Civil rights activists say the commission will encourage voter suppression by justifying new barriers to voting, such as requiring identity cards to vote.