In summary

The Trump administration is ramping up its campaign to root out voter fraud, but it won’t be getting much help from California.

The Trump administration is ramping up its campaign to root out voter fraud, but it won’t be getting much help from California.

This week, Kris Kobach, vice chairman of the President’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, sent a letter requesting voter-roll data from each state in the union. He provided a July 14 deadline.

California Secretary of State Alex Padilla has now responded with a proverbial return-to-sender.

“California’s participation would only serve to legitimize the false and already debunked claims of massive voter fraud made by the President, the Vice President, and Mr. Kobach,” Padilla, a Democrat, said in a statement. “The President’s Commission is a waste of taxpayer money and a distraction from the real threats to the integrity of our elections today:  aging voting systems and documented Russian interference in our elections.”

In his letter, Kobach requested all publicly available information relating to registered voters, including full name, date of birth, political party, last four digits of social security number, recent voting history, and information regarding past felony convictions.

President Trump formed his advisory commission on voter fraud last May with a mission to study voting system “vulnerabilities” that “could lead to improper voter registrations and improper voting, including fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting.” The commission is chaired by Vice President Mike Pence, though Kobach is leading the effort.

Kobach is the Secretary of State in Kansas, where he has helped enact some of the strictest voter laws in the country. Those restrictions have been challenged in court. Earlier this month, Kobach was fined by a federal judge for offering “patently misleading representations to the court” in a voting-related lawsuit.

Trump warned of the possibility of widespread voter fraud during last year’s campaign. As president, he has repeatedly asserted without evidence that millions of undocumented immigrants cast ballots in November election. These claims have been widely dismissed by experts.

As CALmatters reported last March, the state received a total of 948 election-related complaints in 2016. This triggered a single investigation into one incident alleged voter fraud.

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Ben Christopher

Ben covers California politics and elections. Prior to that, he was a contributing writer for CalMatters reporting on the state's economy and budget. Based out of the San Francisco Bay Area, he has written...