- Associated Press - Thursday, July 6, 2017

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) - The South Carolina State Election Commission is refusing to turn over voter information to a White House panel investigating voter fraud, so the state’s Republican Party is stepping in to do it instead.

The commission said Thursday state law prohibits it from sharing voter data with anyone outside South Carolina, so it rejected the request from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. The presidential commission was seeking the names, dates of birth, party affiliation, voter history, any felony convictions, and the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers.

The state election commission said it consulted with the South Carolina Attorney General’s Office before making the decision.

In response, South Carolina GOP Chairman Drew McKissick said he will buy the voter data as state law allows and turn it over to the presidential advisory commission.

A registered South Carolina voter can buy the information for $2,500 as long as it’s not used for commercial purposes, the state election commission said. The information includes names, addresses, voting history, date of birth, race, and gender. It doesn’t include other details the White House commission sought, like party identification and the last four digits of voters’ Social Security numbers.

Democrats praised the state commission’s decision. South Carolina Republicans were helping a White House commission searching for reasons to propose new voting restrictions, South Carolina Democratic Party Chair Trav Robertson said.

“This decision reaffirms the Election Commission’s nonpartisan role in administering our elections fairly, nonpartially, and with integrity,” Robertson said in a statement. “Hopefully the nationwide bipartisan resistance to the Trump Administration’s voter suppression efforts will make them abandon this shameful project.”

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