Efforts by the Trump administration’s Election Integrity Commission to investigate allegations of voter fraud include a request for voter information, which Wisconsin elections officials say they are prohibited by state statute from providing. Data that is available will have to be paid for.
Kris Kobach, the Kansas Secretary of State who serves as vice chairman of the commission, has requested data on voters, including names, birthdays, last four digits of Social Security numbers, and voting histories going back more than a decade. Kobach made the requests in letters to all 50 states.
On Friday, Wisconsin Elections Commission administrator Michael Haas issued a statement regarding the request.
“By law, most of the information in Wisconsin’s voter registration system is public and is available for purchase, and is commonly purchased by political parties, candidates, researchers and other organizations. A voter’s name, address and voting history are public, and this information has already been provided to campaigns and other requestors who have paid for it. Wisconsin does not collect any information about a voter’s political preference or gender.
“Wisconsin statutes do not permit the state to release a voter’s date of birth, driver license number or Social Security number. State statutes permit the WEC to share confidential information in limited circumstances with law enforcement agencies or agencies of other states. The Presidential Commission does not appear to qualify under either of these categories.
“The WEC does not have the discretion to deny a request for the public information in the voter registration database if the required fee is paid. By administrative rule, the price is $12,500 for the entire statewide voter file, and Wisconsin law does not contain any provision for waiving the fee for voter data.”
President Donald Trump has claimed that millions of illegal ballots were cast in the 2016 presidential election, in which Democrat Hillary Clinton won the popular vote but lost in the Electoral College. Trump’s Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, a Wisconsin native who previously served as the Republican National Committee chairman and chair of the Republican Party of Wisconsin, has long been a proponent of voter fraud theories.