More than two dozen states have already refused President Donald Trump's request to turn over voter roll data, and officials in Republican-held Mississippi appear to have issued the sharpest rebuke to the request seen so far. In a statement released Friday, a Mississippi official denied Trump's voter fraud commission request and added, "they can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico."
"In the event I were to receive correspondence from the Commission requesting [detailed voter roll data] my reply would be: They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great State to launch from," Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann said in a statement released Friday.
Earlier in the week, Trump's Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity reportedly sent letters to all 50 states and Washington, D.C. requesting officials hand over information regarding voters' full names, addresses, dates of birth, known political party affiliation, Social Security numbers, and voting history dating back 10 years. So far at least 25 states have refused to comply with the request, citing either concerns over how and why the commission was formed, as well as state laws regarding the release of voters' personal information, according to The Washington Post.
I didn't think this quote was real — until I found it's actually on the website of the Republican Secretary of State of Mississippi pic.twitter.com/ExpRdWhMCi— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) June 30, 2017
Election officials in California, Kentucky, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Virginia have said they would not provide Trump's voter fraud commission with any information while states such as Ohio and Connecticut have said they will hand over some, but not all, of the information requested. Officials in both Iowa and Wisconsin have indicated they would not freely hand over data but that the commission was welcome to go through the formal process of filing a request for public election data.
"Numerous states are refusing to give information to the very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL," President Trump said Saturday in a tweet on his Twitter account. "What are they trying to hide?"
Numerous states are refusing to give information to the very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL. What are they trying to hide?— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 1, 2017
For Hosemann, it appears the refusal to comply with the commission's request for information is less about secrecy and more about protecting voters' privacy. "Mississippi residents should celebrate Independence Day and our State's right to protect the privacy of our citizens by conducting our own electoral processes," he said. "As all of you may remember, I fought in federal court to protect Mississippi voters' rights for their privacy and won."
Since taking office, President Trump has repeatedly made unsubstantiated claims of massive voter fraud without citing any evidence. Prior to that Trump often alleged — without presenting evidence — that the election was "rigged" against him. No evidence of widespread voter fraud in the 2016 election has been found by experts or researchers.