More than 40 states and the District of Columbia are saying they can’t or won’t hand over voter data to President Trump’s “election integrity” commission — and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Grimes had a colorful way to describe how the White House request has been received in her state.
“As my grandmother used to say, ‘It’s about as welcoming as a breeze off an outhouse,’” Grimes said on MSNBC Wednesday. “The folks across the state — not just Democrats, but Republicans — are realizing that turning over personal sensitive information to the federal government — to the president who has requested this — one, isn’t in the state’s interest and two, isn’t in individuals’ interests.”
The data requests were first made last week by the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, a group formed by Trump following his unsubstantiated claims of massive voter fraud in the 2016 election. The letters requested information about voters, including birthdays, party affiliation and the last four digits of their Social Security numbers.
— Alison L. Grimes (@AlisonForKY) July 6, 2017
Many states, including those with Republican officials, said state law prevented them from turning over most of the data requested by the commission.
“They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico, and Mississippi is a great state to launch from,” Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said in a statement.
But Grimes — a Democrat who ran for the U.S. Senate in 2014 and lost to incumbent Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell — remains the commission’s most quotable opponent.
“There’s not enough bourbon here in Kentucky to make this request seem sensible,” Grimes said last week. “No American in their right mind would hand over [sensitive information], let alone hand [it] over to President Trump — someone who likes to tweet 140 characters at a time.”
“The President has repeatedly spread the lie that three to five million illegal votes were cast in the last election,” Grimes said in a statement rejecting the commission’s request. “Kentucky will not aid a commission that is at best a waste of taxpayer money and at worst an attempt to legitimize voter suppression efforts across the country.”
By the end of the day Friday, more than 20 states had declined to participate, and that number ballooned over the long holiday weekend.
“Numerous states are refusing to give information to the very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL,” Trump tweeted on Saturday. “What are they trying to hide?”
Numerous states are refusing to give information to the very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL. What are they trying to hide?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2017
“One question,” Grimes replied. “If @realDonaldTrump asked for your address, SSN, birthdate, political affiliation, & voting history, would you give it to him?”
— Alison L. Grimes (@AlisonForKY) July 1, 2017
— With reporting by Yahoo News’ Christopher Wilson
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