Galvin won’t cooperate with Trump voter fraud panel

PRESIDENT TRUMP’S COMMISSION to investigate allegations of voter fraud is reaching out to state officials to gather information, but they won’t be getting a lot of help from Massachusetts Secretary of State William Galvin.

Galvin spokesman Brian McNiff confirmed on Thursday that the office received a letter from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. But he said the commission won’t be getting the roster of full information on the state’s registered voters that it requested.

“They’re not going to get it,” McNiff said. “It’s not a public record.”

Among the requests the commission is making of state election officials is that they provide information on all registered voters in the state, including their name, address, date of birth, party affiliation, and the last four digits of their social security number. The commission is also asking for information on voting history, any felony convictions, information on registration in another state, military status, and whether a voter is living overseas.

Massachusetts law specifies that the voter data “shall not be a public record.” The statute does provide for the secretary of state, who is the state’s chief election official, to make the file available to political parties, statewide candidates or ballot question campaigns.

McNiff said he could not provide a copy of the letter late Thursday, but said it’s the same one received this week by secretaries of state throughout the country.

A copy of the commission’s letter to Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merrill was posted on Twitter.

Along with asking for the voter file information, the letter from commission vice chair Kris Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, asked Merrill what “laws, policies or other issues hinder your ability to ensure the integrity of elections you administer?” It asked what evidence there was of voter fraud or registration fraud in her state and what convictions have occurred for “election-related crimes” in the state since the 2000 election.  The letter also asked for recommendations “for preventing voter intimidation or disenfranchisement.”

Asked about the issue of voter fraud in Massachusetts, McNiff said, there has been “very little.” There have been a “couple of cases” in recent years, McNiff said. “They’ve been prosecuted, and that’s about it.”

The commission was formed in the wake of unsubstantiated allegations Trump made after winning last November’s election that there had been “serious voter fraud in Virginia, New Hampshire and California.” Trump said there were “millions of people who voted illegally,” but there has been no evidence produced to date to support his charge.

The three states Trump singled out were all carried by Hillary Clinton. Trump lashed out repeatedly after the election over the issue of the popular vote, which he lost despite carrying the Electoral College.

Last month, Trump issued an executive order creating the voter fraud commission and named Vice President Mike Pence its chairman.

California’s secretary of state, Alex Padilla, announced today that he will not be giving the commission the voter information it requested.

“I will not provide sensitive voter information history to a commission that has already inaccurately passed judgment that millions of Californians voted illegally. California’s participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud made by the President, the Vice President, and Mr. Kobach,” Padilla said in a statement.

He added that the appointment of Kobach, “who has a long history of sponsoring discriminatory, anti-immigrant policies including voter suppression and racial profiling laws – sends a clear and ominous message. His role as vice chair is proof that the ultimate goal of the commission is to enact policies that will result in the disenfranchisement of American citizens.”

Meet the Author

Michael Jonas

Executive Editor, CommonWealth

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

About Michael Jonas

Michael Jonas has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since the early 1980s. Before joining the CommonWealth staff in early 2001, he was a contributing writer for the magazine for two years. His cover story in CommonWealth's Fall 1999 issue on Boston youth outreach workers was selected for a PASS (Prevention for a Safer Society) Award from the National Council on Crime and Delinquency.

Michael got his start in journalism at the Dorchester Community News, a community newspaper serving Boston's largest neighborhood, where he covered a range of urban issues. Since the late 1980s, he has been a regular contributor to the Boston Globe. For 15 years he wrote a weekly column on local politics for the Boston Sunday Globe's City Weekly section.

Michael has also worked in broadcast journalism. In 1989, he was a co-producer for "The AIDS Quarterly," a national PBS series produced by WGBH-TV in Boston, and in the early 1990s, he worked as a producer for "Our Times," a weekly magazine program on WHDH-TV (Ch. 7) in Boston.

Michael lives in Dorchester with his wife and their two daughters.

Virginia’s Democratic governor, Terry McAuliffe, also announced Thursday that his state won’t cooperate with the request for voter information.

 

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