Appeals Court Throws Out Privacy Lawsuit Against ‘Voter Fraud’ Panel

An appeals court Tuesday said that a privacy group suing President Trump’s so-called voter fraud commission was not itself a voter, and thus could not bring a claim alleging that the commission had failed to protect voters’ privacy in seeking states’ voter roll data.

“As we read it, the provision is intended to protect individuals—in the present context,
voters—by requiring an agency to fully consider their privacy before collecting their personal information,” the appeals court said, in denying the Electronic Privacy Information Center’s request to halt the commission’s data collection operation.

“EPIC is not a voter and is therefore not the type of plaintiff the Congress had in mind,” the court said.

The decision, handed down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, came after a lower court had also denied EPIC’s request that it halt the commission’s data collection operations.

“We agree with the district court that EPIC is unlikely to succeed on its [Administrative Procedure Act] claims. But we reach that conclusion for a different reason from the one the district court identified,” the appeals court said. “Specifically, we uphold the denial of a preliminary injunction because EPIC has not shown a substantial likelihood of standing.”

The lower court had said that the commission did not qualify as an agency under the Administrative Procedure Act, the law EPIC alleges the commission has violated.

EPIC had brought the lawsuit after the commission, dubbed the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, sent letters to state officials in June seeking voter roll data. It is one of a number legal challenges the commission has faced.

The commission’s voter roll request was widely criticized, even by some Republican state election officials. After an initial court victory over EPIC in the case, the commission’s vice chair, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) sent a follow-up letter clarifying that voters’ private information would not become public and stressing that the commission was only seeking data states legally are allowed to hand over.

Read the appeals court decision below:

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Sincerely,
TPM Staff
Latest Muckraker
Comments
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Reporters:
Newswriters:
Director of Audience:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: