California's top elections officer to Trump's voting fraud panel: No
President Trump's voter fraud commission will not be getting the names and addresses of California's registered voters. The panel's request was denied on Thursday by Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who said it would only "legitimize" false claims of massive election cheating last fall.
Padilla refused to hand over data, including the names, addresses, political party and voting history of California's 19.4 million voters. Kris Kobach, the secretary of state of Kansas who serves as vice chairman of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, sent letters to all 50 states on Wednesday for information he said would help the group examine rules that either "enhance or undermine the American people’s confidence in the integrity of federal elections processes."
Padilla, though, suggested the effort is little more than a ruse.
"I will not provide sensitive voter information to a commission that has already inaccurately passed judgment that millions of Californians voted illegally," he said in a written statement. "California's participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud made by the President, the Vice President, and Mr. Kobach."
Last November, Trump tweeted that California was one of three states where "serious voter fraud" took place in the general election. No state or local elections official has found any evidence to back up the president's assertion.
Kobach's request says the panel seeks only "publicly available" information. Basic information about California voters is routinely shared with journalists, political campaigns and researchers after a written request and payment of a fee.
The letter asks for data including "information regarding any felony convictions, information regarding voter registration in another state, information regarding military status, and overseas citizen information."
Padilla also criticized the selection of Kobach to help lead Trump's commission, accusing the Kansas official of past efforts at racial profiling and suppressing voter turnout.
"His role as vice chair is proof that the ultimate goal of the commission is to enact policies that will result in the disenfranchisement of American citizens," Padilla said.
The presidential commission's first meeting is scheduled for July 19.