Emergency motion filed as part of existing lawsuit that challenged Commission on Election Integrity’s efforts to collect and publicly disseminate data on voters nationwide; Florida was among the few states that gave data to the commission.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Florida, along with a coalition of voting and civil rights leaders and concerned Florida voters, has filed an emergency motion in federal court seeking to prevent the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity from distributing voters’ information to any other person or agency following its sudden dissolution earlier this week.
The motion, filed today as part of an existing federal lawsuit challenging the Commission’s authority to collect data on voters nationwide, asks the court to prohibit the Commission from transmitting or utilizing the data on voters which the Commission collected to any other person or agency as the White House prepares to empower to Department of Homeland Security “to review these issues and determine next course of action.”
“The goal of our lawsuit has been to expose the deep levels of secrecy in which the Commission was operating and to protect the valuable, personal information of millions of voters in Florida and around the country,” stated ACLU of Florida legal director Nancy Abudu. “With the Commission’s dissolution, we have partially succeeded in dismantling one engine of voter suppression. However, now that the President intends to transfer the information the Commission collected to DHS, an agency with even less transparency, we remain highly concerned that the Commission’s ill-conceived motives may nevertheless be realized if we don’t stop this unfettered large transfer of personal identifying information.”
The Commission, led by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, immediately began seeking data on every registered voter in the entire country in June 2017, following President Trump’s claims that his almost 3 million vote deficit in the popular vote was the result of voter fraud.
In July 2017, The ACLU of Florida – along with fellow plaintiffs former state Senator Arthenia Joyner, Tampa City Councilman Mike Suarez; Broward County voter Joshua A. Simmons; Miami-Dade County voter Brenda Shapiro; Miami-Dade County Voter Luis Meurice; and the Florida Immigrant Coalition (FLIC) -- filed a lawsuit challenging the Commission’s authority to collect voter data.
On January 3, 2017 the White House announced that the Commission would be terminated, citing the refusal of many states to hand over voters’ personal data as well as “legal battles” over the issue. On the same day, Commission Vice Chair Kobach gave an interview describing “a tactical shift where the mission of the commission is being handed off to Homeland Security.”
The motion filed today seeks a judicial order preventing the commission from sending any data to any other person or agency and preventing Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner from submitting any additional voter information to the other defendants.
Plaintiffs in the case are represented by: Benedict Kuehne and Michael T. Davis of Kuehne Davis Law, P.A.; Nancy Abudu, legal director of the ACLU of Florida; H.K. Skip Pita, of Pita Weber Del Prado; Jason B. Blank of Haber Blank, LLP; Marc A. Burton and Daniel J. Poterek of The Burton Firm, P.A.; Larry S. Davis and Shana Korda of the Law Office of Larry S. Davis, P.A.; Freddy Funes, Jarred L. Reiling, Gerald Greenberg, and Adam Schachter of Gelber, Schachter & Greenberg, P.A.; and Joseph S. Geller of Greenspoon Marder, P.A.
Information about the original complaint filed in July 2017 is available here: https://www.aclufl.org/en/press-releases/coalition-voting-rights-leaders-and-florida-voters-sue-presidential-commission-over
A copy of the emergency motion filed today is available here: https://www.aclufl.org/sites/default/files/2018-01-05_emergency_motion_f...