BATON ROUGE, La. — Describing the request as politically motivated overreach, Louisiana’s Republican secretary of state said Monday that he won’t give President Donald Trump’s voting commission the private voter identification information it requested.

Secretary of State Tom Schedler said the commissioners can have the limited public information about voters that is available to anyone under Louisiana’s law — but like everyone else, they will have to pay for it.

Additional data sought by the Trump commission, including partial Social Security numbers and birth dates, will be kept private and protected, Schedler said.

“The President’s commission has quickly politicized its work by asking states for an incredible amount of voter data that I have, time and time again, refused to release,” Schedler said in a statement. “My response to the commission is, ‘You’re not going to play politics with Louisiana’s voter data.'”

The publicly available voter lists available for purchase in Louisiana include names, addresses, party registrations and voter histories that show who voted, but not how they voted, said Schedler spokeswoman Meg Casper Sunstrom.

Trump established the commission to investigate allegations of voter fraud in the 2016 elections, but critics have blasted it as a biased panel that is merely looking for ways to suppress the vote. Schedler has defended Louisiana’s elections system, saying the state didn’t have any widespread irregularities or allegations of fraud during the presidential election.

Several states, including neighboring Mississippi, have refused to comply with the request for detailed information about every voter in the country, citing privacy concerns. No state election official planned to provide the commission with all of the information requested, according to an Associated Press survey of individual state responses.

The refusals have provoked criticism from Trump. On Saturday, the President tweeted: “Numerous states are refusing to give information to the very distinguished VOTER FRAUD PANEL. What are they trying to hide?”

Schedler said his response to the Trump administration is the same response he gave to President Barack Obama’s administration, when the Department of Justice sought to obtain personal voter data during the back-and-forth over a 2011 lawsuit involving Louisiana’s voter-registration efforts.

Louisiana’s secretary of state said both the Obama and Trump administration requests were politically motivated. He said the release of such private information “creates a tremendous breach of trust with voters who work hard to protect themselves against identity fraud.”

“This commission needs to understand clearly, disclosure of such sensitive information is more likely to diminish voter participation rather than foster it,” Schedler said. “I have been fighting this kind of federal intrusion and overreach, and will continue to fight like hell for the people who trust me with the integrity of our election process.”

Gov. John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, supports Schedler’s decision not to share the private voter information, said Edwards spokesman Richard Carbo.


Follow Melinda Deslatte on Twitter at http://twitter.com/melindadeslatte

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MELINDA DESLATTE
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