Metro-East News

Illinois denies Trump voter fraud commission’s data request

Illinois on Friday became the latest state to push back against President Donald Trump’s commission on voter fraud.

The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, through a letter from commission Vice Chairman and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, last week asked secretaries of state for voters’ names, birth dates, partial Social Security numbers and other detailed information if it is public under state laws.

The Illinois State Board of Elections General Counsel Kenneth Menzel said in a letter that state law protects the confidentiality and privacy of voter registration data, and limits its release to registered political committees for political purposes and to governmental entities for governmental purposes.

“In short, the State of Illinois does not have a publicly available voter roll,” Menzel wrote. “Therefore, our agency does not have any material responsive to the Commission’s request.”

Several states and the District of Columbia are refusing to comply, while many others plan to provide the limited information that is public under their laws.

Trump created the commission, which is chaired by Vice President Mike Pence in order to investigate alleged voter fraud.

Trump lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton but has alleged, without evidence, that 3 million to 5 million people voted illegally. In addition to the voter information, the commission’s letter asks state officials for suggestions on improving election integrity and to share any evidence of fraud and election-related crimes in their states.

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth, D-Illinois, had urged the state to deny the commission’s request.

“Rather than focusing on the serious threat to our nation’s democracy and security posed by known foreign attacks on our election infrastructure, this Commission appears to be part of a broader partisan effort to manufacture false evidence of massive voter fraud to justify outrageous voter suppression efforts,” Duckworth said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Joseph Bustos: 618-239-2451, @JoeBReporter

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