Trump’s voter panel re­sponds to law­suit by pri­vacy group

Sun Sentinel Palm Beach Edition - - NATION & WORLD -

CON­CORD, N.H. — Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s com­mis­sion on elec­tion fraud con­tin­ues to de­fend its re­quest for de­tailed voter in­for­ma­tion in court ahead of its first meet­ing later this week.

The com­mis­sion had asked states to pro­vide pub­licly avail­able data in­clud­ing names, birth dates and par­tial So­cial Se­cu­rity num­bers, but last week it told states to hold off un­til a judge rules on a law­suit filed by the Elec­tronic Pri­vacy In­for­ma­tion Cen­ter in Wash­ing­ton.

The group, which ar­gued the com­mis­sion should have com­pleted an as­sess­ment of pri­vacy con­cerns be­fore mak­ing the re­quest, last week up­dated its com­plaint to add the di­rec­tor of White House in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy to its suit af­ter the com­mis­sion said a re­pur­posed com­puter sys­tem in that of­fice would store the data. In a re­sponse filed Mon­day, the com­mis­sion ar­gued nei­ther the com­mis­sion nor the of­fice that will store the data is an agency re­quired to com­plete the pri­vacy as­sess­ment.

It also re­peated its ar­gu­ments that there is noth­ing wrong with one govern­ment en­tity shar­ing pub­lic in­for­ma­tion with an­other and that the pri­vacy group has not made a case that any of its mem­bers would be harmed.

“By col­lect­ing voter data from the states, the com­mis­sion seeks to ‘en­hance the Amer­i­can peo­ple’s con­fi­dence in the in­tegrity of the vot­ing pro­cesses used in fed­eral elec­tions,’” the com­mis­sion wrote.

Trump, a Repub­li­can, cre­ated the com­mis­sion in May to in­ves­ti­gate his al­le­ga­tions — of­fered without ev­i­dence — that mil­lions of peo­ple voted il­le­gally in 2016. Democrats blasted the com­mis­sion as a bi­ased panel bent on voter sup­pres­sion, and 17 states and the District of Columbia are re­fus­ing to com­ply with the com­mis­sion’s re­quest.

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