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California’s Top Elections Official Continues To Balk At Request From Trump’s Voter Panel

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio
Californians cast their votes at the California Museum in Downtown Sacramento on Nov. 8, 2016.

President Trump said on Wednesday that states such as California that won’t agree to share data with his commission on voter fraud must be worried about what the results will show.

“If any state does not want to share this information, one has to wonder what they’re worried about,” Trump said before the first meeting of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity in Washington D.C. “There’s something, there always is.”

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla is one of dozens of elections officials across the country who have expressed privacy and security concerns about the request.

Padilla told reporters Wednesday in a conference call that he’ll continue to withhold sensitive voter information, such as Social Security numbers, requested by the panel.

“We know based on who’s in charge of this commission what their end game is and how this data may be used and abused to justify rolling back voting rights. We’re not worried about anything. We’re not hiding anything, Mr. President,” Padilla said.

The panel asked for voter data publicly available under the laws of individual states.

California law does not allow the release of the last four digits of a voter’s social security number, their driver’s license number, how they voted or their signature. It does allow for the release of a voter’s name, address and party affiliation.

Kim Alexander, president of the California Voter Foundation, said Padilla is right to oppose the commission’s request.

Given Trump’s evidence-free claims about voter fraud in California, Alexander said she can understand “why the secretary of state would not want to exacerbate or undermine the voters’ confidence” by sending sensitive data to the commission.

“Just because you’re a government agency doesn’t entitle you to the data automatically,” Alexander said.

Trump claimed in November that “serious voter fraud” took place in California and other states won by Hillary Clinton.

PolitiFact California spoke with elections officials and independent observers across the state and found no widespread reports of voter fraud. It rated the claim Pants On Fire, its most severe false rating.

Copyright 2017 Capital Public Radio