Officials representing Maryland’s Board of Elections denounced a presidential commission’s request for the personal information of millions of voters as part of an investigation into alleged voter fraud in the 2016 election, citing the lack of evidence behind President Trump’s claims.
Attorney General Brian Frosh said in a statement that the requested disclosure is prohibited by state law, and urged Gov. Larry Hogan to oppose the efforts.
“I find this request for the personal information of millions of Marylanders repugnant; it appears designed only to intimidate voters and to indulge President Trump’s fantasy that he won the popular vote,” Frosh said in the statement. “Repeating incessantly a false story of expansive voter fraud, and then creating a commission to fuel that narrative, does not make it any more true.”
Maryland joins dozens of states in denying the request, outlined in a June 28 letter from Kris Kobach, vice chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The letter asked all 50 states and D.C. to turn over sensitive voter registration information including full names, addresses, dates of birth, political parties, the last four digits of registrants’ social security numbers and more.
State Elections Administrator Linda Lamone wrote in a response that the request is prohibited under the state law governing access to voter registration lists, and some information could be prohibited under federal law.
The commission was created in May after Trump baselessly claimed that millions of undocumented immigrants voting illegally in the general election contributed to his popular vote loss.
The data would be used to “fully analyze vulnerabilities and issues related to voter registration and voting,” according to the letter. Frosh said in his statement that “no evidence that the integrity of the 2016 election in Maryland – or any other state- was compromised by voter fraud.”
Some requested information is available under the Maryland’s open records law for registered voters in the state, The Baltimore Sun reported, but cannot be used for commercial purposes. Kobach said in the letter that all documents provided to the commission would be made publicly available.
Hogan has not made a public statement regarding the request. Ben Jealous, the former NCAAP leader seeking the Democratic nomination in the gubernatorial race, railed against the request and accused Hogan of “silently playing footsie with President Trump,” The Sun reported.
Kobach, also state secretary of Kansas, denied the request for social security information on Friday, citing Kansas voter privacy laws. He said the state would hand over other information available under public records laws, telling the Kansas City Star that “every state receives the same letter, but we’re not asking for it if it’s not publicly available.” Multiple other states, including Connecticut and Indiana, will hand over publicly available information.
Other states opposing the request include neighboring Virginia and Delaware. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said in a statement he has “no intention of honoring this request,” while Delaware Election Commissioner Elaine Manlove said in a release that complying would not be in voters’ best interests.