Kris Kobach, vice chairman of President Trump's voter fraud commission, has renewed his requests to states to provide the panel with publicly available voter roll information after a federal court denied a request to halt the collection of the information.
Kobach sent a letter Wednesday to California Secretary of State Alex Padilla, who posted the letter online. The letter reissued his request and tried to address concerns about the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity's collection of personal voter information.
"The commission will approach all of its work without preconceived conclusions or prejudgments," Kobach wrote. "The members of this bipartisan commission are interested in gathering facts and going where those facts lead. We take seriously the commissions' mission pursuant to Executive Order 13799 to identify those laws, rules, policies, activities, strategies, and practices that either enhance or undermine the integrity of election processes."
Kobach came under fire last month when he sent a letter to all secretaries of state requesting the full names of all registered voters, their addresses, birth dates, last four digits of their Social Security numbers, voting history, and other personal information. Forty-four states refused parts of the request, and several organizations challenged Kobach's letter in court.
On Monday, a federal judge denied a request from one group, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, to halt the commission's collection of voter registration information.
But since Kobach, the Kansas secretary of state, sent his original request, 30 states have responded and are either agreeing to provide publicly available records to the voter fraud commission or evaluating what records they can provide in compliance with state laws.
Several secretaries of state criticized Kobach and the voter fraud commission for asking for sensitive voter information. They argued the commission exists only to perpetuate claims of voter fraud and is a waste of taxpayer dollars.
In his new letter, Kobach reassured skeptical secretaries of state that the information requested would be confidential and disposed of after the commission completes an analysis.
"I want to assure you that the commission will not publicly release any personally identifiable information regarding any individual voter or any group of voters from the voter records you submit," Kobach wrote. "Individuals' voter registration records will be kept confidential and secure throughout the duration of the commission's existence."
Kobach said the only information that will be made public are statistical conclusions drawn from the data, general observations, and correspondence sent to the commission.
"Let me be clear, the commission will not release any personally identifiable information from voter registration records to the public," he said.
Despite Kobach's reassurances, Padilla said he will again deny his request.
"Once again, the president's sham election commission has requested California voters' personal data. Once again, my answer is no," he said in a statement. "The commission's new request does nothing to address the fundamental problems with the commission's illegitimate origins, questionable mission, or the preconceived and harmful views on voting rights that many of its commissioners have advanced."
"Let me reassure voters: I will not provide this commission with Californians' personal voter data," he said. "I will continue to do everything in my power to protect California citizens' ability to exercise their rights and vote free of barriers and intimidation."
Trump launched his voter fraud commission after stating millions of illegal immigrants cast votes for Hillary Clinton, causing him to lose the popular vote. The commission had its inaugural meeting last week.