SALEM, Ore. – Oregon’s chief election official on Friday told President Donald Trump’s commission investigating allegations of voter fraud that it could receive a statewide list of voters for $500, just like anyone else.
Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson, however, said in response to the commission’s request for publicly available details on all voters in the state that he’s barred legally from disclosing Social Security and driver’s license numbers.
Two members of Oregon’s congressional delegation and Gov. Kate Brown had urged Richardson, a Republican in this Democratic-leaning state, to refuse the request that went to secretaries of state around America.
Richardson said in a letter to commission vice chairman and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach that there is “very little evidence” of voter fraud or registration fraud in Oregon.
“I do not believe the federal government should be involved in dictating how states conduct their elections,” Richardson said.
Among the secretary of state’s key missions, according to Richardson’s official website, is to “maximize voter participation and protect ballot security in order to promote Oregon’s healthy democracy.”
U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, a Democrat, charged via Twitter that the request is a tool of voter suppression, and said Richardson should follow the lead of some of his counterparts in other states, and not provide data.
Rep. Earl Blumenaur and Brown, also Democrats, agreed.
“We should protect voters’ information and expand access to the ballot, not suppress it,” Brown tweeted.
The Democratic Party of Oregon said believes the request “is an effort to mislead the American public about the integrity of our voter rolls.”
The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity asked secretaries of state to provide, by July 14, voters’ information including birthdates, the last four digits of their Social Security numbers, about felony convictions and military status, party affiliations, what elections they voted in since 2006, and voter registration in other states.
Richardson wrote in response that “any person may receive a statewide list of electors upon payment of $500.”
Kobach had said the data he sought will help the commission “fully analyze vulnerabilities and issues related to voter registration and voting.”
Trump, who lost the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, created the commission through an executive order in May. He has said voter fraud existed in the election that he won by Electoral College votes.
Subscribe to the Morning Review newsletter
Get the day’s top headlines delivered to your inbox every morning by subscribing to our newsletter.