PRIVACY GROUP UP IN ARMS OVER JUDGE ALLOWING TRUMP ELECTION COMMISSION TO COLLECT VOTER DATA
U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, in the District of Columbia, denied the advocacy group’s request to block the data collection in a ruling that commission vice chairman Kris Kobach called “a major victory for government accountability, transparency and the public’s right to know about the integrity of our elections processes.”
“The commission requested this publicly available data as part of its fact-gathering process, which is information that states regularly release to political candidates, political parties and the general public,” said Kobach, the Republican secretary of state in Kansas. “We look forward to continuing to work with state election leaders to gather information and identify opportunities to improve election integrity.”
READ MORE: What could Trump’s election commission do with voter data?
The privacy group had argued that the commission should have completed an assessment of privacy concerns before making the request. The judge found that the group had standing to make that argument but said the commission is not an agency and therefore is not required to do such assessments. The judge also found the group failed to show that its members would be harmed by the data collection.
“The only practical harm the plaintiff’s advisory board members would suffer … is that their already publicly available information would be rendered more easily accessible by virtue of its consolidation on the computer systems that would ultimately receive this information on behalf of the commission,” the judge said.
She did not say that any states must comply with the commission’s request.
The privacy group said it will be watching closely to see what the commission does next.
“The commission cannot evade privacy obligations by playing a shell game with the nation’s voting records,” EPIC president Marc Rotenberg said.–PBS