EPIC, a nonprofit privacy rights group, is “not a voter” and doesn’t represent voters, U.S. District Judge Stephen Williams ruled, adding that the organization suffered no damages from the commission’s attempt to collect voter data.
The president launched the panel earlier this year to investigate and fix what he claimed was massive voter fraud in the 2016 election. But the panel faces opposition. The judge’s decision comes on the heels of a federal district court ruling on Friday that ordered the Republican-led commission to give its Democratic members access to records, which was seen over the weekend as a setback for Trump. He paints the commission as a bipartisan panel, but opponents complain that there’s no transparency.
Tuesday’s ruling “was a surprising outcome,” EPIC President Marc Rotenberg told the news out. However, the organization plans to continue its legal battle. Meanwhile, the commission is supposed to submit recommendations to end voter fraud in March 2018. But it has been inactive since the last gathering on Sept. 12 and has failed to share information with certain members, NBC News reported.
1. What is the commission
President Trump created the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity on May 11, 2017 through an executive order. There are currently 11 members on the commission, four of which are Democrats.
2. Why was the commission created
The president claims that millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election.
3. The real purpose behind the commission
This fiction about widespread voter fraud is used to justify the creation of various obstacles to casting a ballot, such as the requirement to obtain a government photo ID, that’s intended to lower voter turnout for Democrats. Opponents suspect that the commission will seize on isolated cases of fraud to further suppress voter turnout.
4. Data collection
The commission sent letters to state election officials requesting massive amounts of “publicly available data” from state voter rolls.
The demand for sensitive voter information set off a wave of controversy an opposition—even among many Republicans. Some states have refused to comply, and several civil liberties and privacy rights groups have sued the commission.
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