Maryland says it won’t provide voter data to Trump election panel

WASHINGTON — Officials in Maryland say they will not be handing over the voter data requested by a commission set up by President Donald Trump to investigate alleged voter fraud.

Administrator of the Maryland State Board of Elections Linda Lamone said in a July 3 letter that sharing access to Maryland’s voter registration lists and other information requested by the commission is prohibited by state law.

Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh in a July 3 statement went even further, calling the request of voter information “repugnant.”

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He added, “it appears designed only to intimidate voters and to indulge President Trump’s fantasy that he won the popular vote. Repeating incessantly a false story of expansive voter fraud, and then creating a commission to fuel that narrative, does not make it any more true. There is no evidence that the integrity of the 2016 election in Maryland — or any other state — was compromised by voter fraud.”

Trump launched the commission in May via an executive order. The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which is led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, sent letters to officials in all 50 states last week asking for a list of voters’ names, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, party affiliations, addresses and voting histories.

Trump, who lost the popular vote in the November election, has claimed — without citing any evidence — that up to 5 million people voted illegally.

Amelia Chasse, a spokeswoman for Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, said in a statement that “As with any such request, the state Board of Elections should supply no more information than is required of them under the law.” In a tweet, Maryland Delegate Eric Leudtke, who helped organize an effort to try to convince Hogan to oppose the Trump administration’s request, called the Hogan administration’s response “anemic.”

Hogan, a Republican, has expressed impatience with attempts by Democrats to tie him to the Trump administration’s actions on everything from health care to the environment.

On Monday, The Baltimore Sun reported, Ben Jealous, the former NAACP director now running for governor as a Democrat, accused Hogan of “silently playing footsie with President Trump.” A group of nearly 50 state lawmakers signed a letter calling on the governor to oppose the Trump administration’s request.

Both D.C. and Virginia elected leaders have also said they won’t hand over any information.

Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe has said there is no evidence of significant voter fraud in the state.

“This entire commission is based on the specious and false notion that there was widespread voter fraud last November,” he said in a statement released last Friday.

D.C. Council member Charles Allen, who chairs a committee responsible for overseeing the District’s board of elections, said he’s crafting emergency legislation to make sure no election data is handed over.

A number of other states are also refusing to hand over voter information.

WTOP’s Kate Ryan contributed to this report.

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