Trying to ratchet up political pressure on Gov. Rick Scott's administration to respond to a federal request for voter information, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gillum on Wednesday asked for state records concerning alleged voter fraud and the White House inquiry.
The open-records request from Gillum, the Tallahassee mayor running next year to succeed Scott, came as a reported 44 states and Washington, D.C., have publicly stated that they will decline to provide at least some of the information sought by the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.
Neither Scott nor Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner have said whether the state will honor the request from Washington, though state officials have pointed out that they have until July 14 to respond.
Gillum's open-records letter calls on Detzner to release any evidence of voter fraud in the 2016 elections, saying that failure to find fraud would undermine the White House request for potentially sensitive information about voters.
"Not only does this (federal) request violate the privacy and security of Floridians, but it is founded on baseless claims of widespread voter fraud," Gillum said in a statement. "If he fails to produce any evidence —- which I suspect he will —- then he should break his public silence and formally deny the Trump Commission's request for Floridians' personal data."
Gillum is also asking for any communication between Detzner's office and the administration of President Donald Trump, including the commission, about voter fraud.
The letter came amid a growing political battle about whether Florida should join the other states in declining to provide at least some information to the White House commission. Gillum's two opponents for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, former Congresswoman Gwen Graham and Winter Park businessman Chris King, have also called for Scott to decline to send sensitive information to the commission.
The commission was formed following unsubstantiated claims by Trump that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 elections.
Last week, the commission issued letters to state elections officials asking for a variety of information that could be culled from voter rolls "if publicly available under the laws of your state."
The information included the names of registered voters, their addresses, partial Social Security numbers, voting history and felony convictions.
Since then, most states have said they would be unable to provide at least some of the information. Even Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach —- who, as vice chairman of the commission, wrote the letter —- reportedly said his state would be unable to comply with the entire request because some of the information is not publicly available.
Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann, a Republican like Scott and Trump, was more blunt in a statement issued by his office last week, even as Hosemann said he hadn't received the letter yet.
"My reply would be: They can go jump in the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi is a great State to launch from," he said.