ACLU Takes On Florida, Federal Officials Over Voter Data

Alicia Cross
July 13, 2017

"President Trump has continued to assert, contrary to all available factual evidence and the findings of the FEC, that he won the popular vote", the 31-page complaint states, abbreviating the Federal Election Commission.

The commission has a meeting planned for July 19 which will be open to the public.

A coalition of civil rights organizations and Florida residents filed a federal lawsuit Monday against Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner and a White House commission, accusing them of potentially violating state and federal laws to try to build a nationwide voter database.

According to the ACLU's suit, the commission chairman, Vice President Pence, had conducted its first meeting via a 90-minute telephone conference with members on June 28. Critics of the letter include the ACLU and the advocacy groups Public Citizen, Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

The transfer of the voter data - and the New Hampshire lawsuit - now await the outcome of a separate legal challenge to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity's request for voter information from all 50 states, which was sent two weeks ago.

The White House did not respond to an email seeking comment on the lawsuit.

In an interview last week with The Hill, Susan Dudley, a former administrator with the Office of Management and Budget's Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) under President George W. Bush, said that Trump's voter fraud commission may have violated the law by ignoring federal requirements governing requests for information from states.

President Donald Trump's administration is temporarily suspending its call for voter roll data.

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In filing the lawsuit, EPIC urged a federal judge to block any further data collection, prompting Kobach to submit a court filing Monday stating that the commission voluntarily paused data collection efforts until the judge rules on the case.

Williams had planned to send the commission a disc on Friday - the initial deadline - with the voter data he's legally allowed to provide to anyone who asks, a spokeswoman for his office said, but will now wait to hear further updates before proceeding.

Kobach last week labeled news accounts of the states' pushback against the sweeping request as more "fake news", echoing Trump in the ongoing war of words with much of the mainstream news media. The files will be deleted for the time being until the court rules on the case.

The State Board of Elections has post3ed the following on its website, "Information on removed voters remains in public databases available on the State Board website. Everybody agrees that what they're trying to do is really about voter suppression", he said.

The commission now faces a string of other lawsuits concerning transparency and privacy. Some raised concerns that the information could be used to keep eligible voters from the polls, while others warned that collecting the data at the national level risks damaging election security and exposing millions of Americans to identity theft and fraud.

By the end of the week almost every state had refused the request in some fashion.

In the court filing Monday, Kobach said "the Commission has chose to use alternative means for transmitting the requested data".

Clark said the lawsuit also charges that Trump and Kobach are using the commission to advance their own personal agendas - Trump to validate his claim that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally previous year and Kobach to help his run for governor of Kansas.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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