President Donald Trump's latest pick to help run the election commission will not ease the concerns of several state officials who already refusing to comply with the commission's invasive probe. Hans von Spakovsky, a Heritage Foundation fellow known for hyping the voter fraud narrative for decades, was chosen Thursday by the Trump administration to another well-known advocate of voting restrictions, Kris Kobach, in a national voter fraud investigation.
Trump, along with other Republicans who embrace voter suppression, point to the work of von Spakovsky to peddle the myth of massive voter fraud. However, von Spakovsky has a history of exaggerating the prevailing nature of voter fraud, according to the Huffington Post. To the point, the White House has failed to provide any evidence of the president's claim that over 3 million people illegally voted in California during the 2016 election.
State officials from California, New York, Virginia, and Kentucky, just to name a few, have already indicated that they will not share revealing personal data demanded by the presidential commission this week. Kobach, the former secretary of state of Kansas who drafted some of the most stringent voter ID laws in the nation, sent a letter to all 50 states requesting the following information:
The full first and last names of all registrants, middle names or initials if available, addresses, dates of birth, political party (if recorded in your state), last four digits of social security number if available, voter history (elections voted in) from 2006 onward, active/inactive status, cancelled status, information regarding any felony convictions, information regarding voter registration in another state, information regarding military status, and overseas citizen information.
When Trump officially launched his election integrity commission in May, critics instantly accused the administration of trying to divert attention from the Russia hacking probe. Much of the information requested in bulk by the commission is the same information cybersecurity experts say Russian hackers attempted to access piecemeal during the 2016 campaign.
"I have no intention of honoring this request," said Governor Terry McAuliffe of Virginia in a statement.
Connecticut's Secretary of State, Denise Merrill, pointed to Kobach's "lengthy record of illegally disenfranchising eligible voters in Kansas" to argue that "given Secretary Kobach's history we find it very difficult to have confidence in the work of this Commission."
To make matters worse, Kobach was recently fined for misleading the court in a case involving the National Voting Registration Act.