President Donald Trump is suggesting that the large number of U.S. states refusing to turn over voter registration information to a White House voter fraud commission have something to keep out of the public eye.
In a Twitter comment Saturday, Trump said, "Numerous states are refusing to give information to the very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL. What are they trying to hide?"
Commission leaders last week asked election officials in all 50 states to turn over their voter registration files with the names of the country's 215 million individual voters that, depending on the state, includes their political party affiliation, birth dates, felony conviction records, how often they have voted in past elections and private identification numbers that are used throughout the U.S. for many financial transactions.
By this past weekend, election officials in 22 states had balked at turning over the information, ironically including the key election official in the midwestern state of Kansas, Kris Kobach, who was one of the commission leaders making the request for the information.
Officials refusing to turn over the information gave various reasons, with some saying their state laws prohibited them from doing so, or that the information was private, while others dismissed Trump's claim that massive fraud existed in the 2016 election.
The top election official in the southern state of Mississippi, Delbert Hosemann, a Republican, said in a statement, "Mississippi residents should celebrate Independence Day and our state's right to protect the privacy of our citizens by conducting our own electoral processes."
Trump established the commission in part to investigate his unsubstantiated claim that 3 million to 5 million votes were cast illegally in last year's election, robbing him of a victory in the national popular vote against Democrat Hillary Clinton even as he captured the presidency through the country's Electoral College, where state-by-state results determine the ultimate winner.
Voter rolls in the U.S. often are filled with the names of people who have died or moved out of the districts where they registered to vote, but there is scant evidence of people actually casting illegal ballots, such as voting twice.