This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Utah does not have a voter fraud problem. Few states do. And that's exactly what Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox told the new Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity when it requested private voter information. It was a more Utah response than Mississippi's answer, which was go jump in the Gulf of Mexico.
President Trump created the commission to review voter fraud and suppression, seemingly in response to his unsubstantiated claim that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally in the 2016 election. Kris Kobach, vice-president of the commission, is the Kansas secretary of state. Ironically, Kobach himself, on behalf of Kansas, has refused to provide the commission with private Social Security number information.
Kobach is infamous in Kansas for aggressively prosecuting voter fraud. He is the only secretary of state in the nation with prosecutorial power outside of the framework of the state's attorney general. He has convicted eight people of voter fraud in Kansas since given the power in 2015. And he promotes a proof-of-citizenship requirement, which itself often suppresses the vote.
Cox's response to the commission's request was precisely correct; he ensured he would share public information, as he is legally required to do for any party who asks for it. Like Utah, many states require information such as voter name, address, registered party and voting history be publicly available. Elections are a public process. Political parties can access this voter data for a fee. It's imperative to ensure that other parties, including the general public, can as well.
The Kobach Commission, though, asked for additional information including birthdates, the last four digits of voters' Social Security numbers, felony convictions and military status.
Cox responded, "We will not share any protected data with the Commission." Cox also offered an election primer for the federal government: "There has been no evidence of mass voter fraud in Utah and we look forward to helping the federal government understand the steps we have taken to ensure the security and validity of Utah's elections."
This is isn't the first time Cox has hit Trump over his "unsubstantiated" and "dangerous" claims that voter fraud is rampant. He noted earlier that such claims "erode confidence in the bedrock foundation of our democratic republic."
As Cox is so well-mannered, we'll tell officials from the Kobach Commission how Utah really feels: They can go jump in the Great Salt Lake.