NC Board of Election releases statement amid Trump voter fraud commission

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump speaks during an energy roundtable with tribal, state, and local leaders in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Wednesday, June 28, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN/AP) – President Donald Trump’s commission investigating alleged voter fraud in the 2016 elections has asked states for a list of the names, party affiliations, addresses and voting histories of all voters, if state law allows it to be public.

North Carolina’s Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement released a statement Friday saying it is “aware of concerns regarding voter information requested by the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.”

A Wednesday letter from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity gives secretaries of state about two weeks to provide about a dozen points of voter data.

That also would include dates of birth, the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers and any information about felony convictions and military status.

North Carolina law says information like name, address, political affiliation, demographic data and a list of past elections in which the voter participated is public.

The State Board of Elections said that information is public record and must be provided under state law.

Information the State Board does not provide includes Social Security numbers, dates of birth or driver license numbers.

“We understand concerns about voters’ privacy. The State Board will provide to the Commission publicly available data as already required under state law,” said Kim Westbrook Strach, executive director of the Bipartisan State Board of Elections & Ethics Enforcement.

Gov. Roy Cooper released a statement about the request that read:

“Integrity of our elections is critical, and a recent State Board of Elections investigation already found there was no evidence of significant voter fraud in North Carolina. My staff has told the State Board of Elections that we should not participate in providing sensitive information beyond what is public record as it is unnecessary, and because I have concerns that it is an effort to justify the President’s false claims about voter fraud.”

Some Democratic officials refused to comply, saying the request invades privacy and is based on false claims of fraud.

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

The data will help the commission “fully analyze vulnerabilities and issues related to voter registration and voting,” vice chairman and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach wrote.

On Thursday, Virginia’s governor and the secretaries of state in California and Kentucky, all Democrats, responded that they will not share the information.

The California and Virginia officials said attention would be better spent upgrading aging voting systems or focusing on Russia’s alleged election meddling. Trump has alleged “serious voter fraud” in both states.

“California’s participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud,” Democratic Secretary of State Alex Padilla said in a statement.

Clinton won California by about 3 million votes.

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe said there is no evidence of voter fraud in the state.

“At best this commission was set up as a pretext to validate Donald Trump’s alternative election facts, and at worst is a tool to commit large-scale voter suppression,” he said in a statement.

Trump created the commission through an executive order in May.

The panel is seeking “public information and publicly available data” from every state and the District of Columbia, said Marc Lotter, a spokesman for Vice President Mike Pence, who is chairing the commission. Lotter described the intent of the request as “fact-finding” and said there were no objections to it by anyone on the 10-member commission, which includes four Democrats.

Minnesota Secretary of State Steve Simon, a Democrat, said he is not sure whether he will share the data because of privacy concerns. Vermont’s top election official, Democrat Jim Condos, said it goes beyond what the state can publicly disclose.

In Missouri, Republican Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft said he is happy to “offer our support in the collective effort to enhance the American people’s confidence in the integrity of the system.” Colorado Secretary of State Wayne Williams, a Republican, said he’ll provide what state law allows.

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Associated Press writers Summer Ballentine in Jefferson City, Missouri; Adam Beam in Frankfort, Kentucky; Doug Glass in Minneapolis; Lisa Rathke in Montpelier, Vermont; Alan Suderman in Richmond, Virginia; and Ken Thomas in Washington contributed to this report.

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