Maine Sec. Of State Wants Restraining Order For Voter Commission Data

PORTLAND, ME - NOVEMBER 8: Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap fields a phone call during one of several election day stops, to see how the polling process is going, at the Merrill Auditorioun Rehearsal Hall voting location in Portland on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. (Photo by Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer)
Portland Press Herald/Portland Press Herald

Maine Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, one of four Democrats on President Donald Trump’s disbanded “election integrity” commission, filed for a temporary restraining order Tuesday to preserve his access to information a federal judge previously ruled he was improperly denied, and to deny access to the commission’s findings to the Department of Homeland Security.

Despite a judge’s order in December that the commission — which Trump dissolved earlier this month, citing lawsuits and states’ refusal to hand over voters’ information — must share its records with Dunlap, Justice Department lawyers said last week that Dunlap is not entitled to the records because the commission no longer exists.

Trump started the commission after baselessly claiming that massive voter fraud cost him the popular vote in 2016, and the White House said upon announcing the commission’s dissolution that its findings would be shared with DHS.

The Justice Department said in a court filing Tuesday that the commission would destroy the actual voter data it had collected as part of its data gathering operation, aside from sending it to the National Archives and Records Administration as required by law, CNN reported.

But Dunlap, represented by the group American Oversight and attorneys from Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP, said in his filing Tuesday that a restraining order would ensure he was not denied access to other records, and that the Department of Homeland Security was not improperly granted access to them.

Their court filing stipulates that the commission should preserve records relating to “the decision to dissolve the commission,” “the disposition of the Commission data and documents,” and those “regarding the transfer of Commission activities and responsibilities to the Department of Homeland Security or any other agency, person, group, or entity.”

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