Tennessee refuses to give voter data to Trump panel

Last updated on July 13th, 2017 at 01:59 pm

Forty-four states, including Tennessee are mounting a bipartisan rebellion against President Donald Trump’s commission on voter fraud by either declining to release any of the requested data or by providing only limited information to the panel.

The Presidential Advisory Commission on Voter Integrity’s request for extensive personal information about voters has ignited a firestorm in many states, including from both Republican and Democrat officials who oversee elections.

The panel is seeking “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.”

Nineteen states (both red and blue) are flat-out refusing to comply with the request, citing privacy concerns and some claiming the 15-member vote fraud panel is politically motivated.

Twenty-six states said they plan to only hand over only what is deemed public information by their respective state laws, while six states have yet to receive the commission’s request or are still reviewing it, according to a count by NBC News.

Many officials have expressed disbelief and outrage at the commission’s call to hand over a staggering amount of voter data, some of which they say is confidential or sensitive.

Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett went to Twitter to express how he felt about it: “Although I appreciate the commission’s mission to address election-related issues, like voter fraud, Tennessee state law does not allow my office to release the voter information requested to the federal commission.”

The panel was created by Trump through executive order in May. Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, a strict voter identification law advocate, who wrote the letter last week to all 50 states and Washington, D.C., seeking the data, chair it.

Democrats have also refused to provide information to the panel, saying the move could lay the groundwork for voter suppression and perpetuate the unfounded claims by Trump that millions voted illegally in the 2016 election.

Survey: 77% of Republicans and 9% of Democrats trust President Trump, ‘somewhat’

A recent statewide survey of Tennesseans by MTSU’s Office of Consumer Research indicate consumers highly trust recommendations from people they know as well as other consumers, but don’t have as much confidence in information from Congress or mainstream television news media.

The current survey of 627 Tennessee consumers was conducted between June 10 and June 19 with a margin of error of four percentage points. In addition to its traditional questions about consumer views on the economy and finances, the latest survey also gauged the level of trust in a number of different institutions.

“As expected, levels of trust for anything or anyone politically related vary greatly by the respondent’s political affiliation,” said Tim Graeff, director of the Office of Consumer Research in MTSU’s Jones College of Business.

For example, while 77% of Republicans surveyed said they ‘completely trust’ or ‘somewhat trust’ President Donald Trump, only nine percent of Democrats, 33% of independents and 20% of respondents with no political affiliation expressed such trust in the president.

The full report can be viewed at www.mtsu.edu/ consumer/tnoutlookreports.php> under the ‘Tennessee Trust Survey’ link. Other report highlights:
• President Trump and Gov. Bill Haslam enjoy relatively high levels of trust among Tennesseans. Of the institutions included on the survey, the U.S. Congress garnered the lowest level of trust.

• Tennesseans place a higher level of trust in information from marketers (advertisements for product and brands) than they do many of the well-known media outlets and the U.S. Congress.

• Republicans have a higher level of trust in fellow Republicans in Congress (63% responding either ‘completely trust’ or ‘somewhat trust’) than Democrats have in fellow Democrats in Congress (54% responding either ‘completely trust’ or ‘somewhat trust’).

• Although there are some minor variations in responses across the three regions of the state, there is relative agreement among Tennesseans in terms of whom they trust.