Salt Lake City – The League of Women Voters of Utah and the League of United Latin American Citizens of Utah (LULAC Utah) welcomed the Trump administration’s decision to dissolve the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, a federal commission that had sought illegal access to the personal information of Utah residents. Both groups had filed a lawsuit to halt that handover in Julyresident Trump originally created the committee to investigate his unsupported claims of voter fraud. On Wednesday, the President said he shuttered the committee because many states had refused to provide the Commission with requested information. The League of Women Voters and LULAC Utah had argued that if Utah Lieutenant Governor Spencer Cox had provided the information, he would have been violating state law.
The two groups – represented by the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law, Kirkland and Ellis LLP, and David R. Irvine and Janet Jenson, attorneys from Salt Lake City – had been working to resolve the issue with Lieutenant Governor Cox’s office in a manner that ensured Utahns’ information was protected under the state’s Government Records Access and Management Act. That law requires complete privacy on voter social security numbers and requires individuals or entities to adhere to specific guidelines about how other personal information will be used. With the dissolution of the Commission, Utah’s information will not be shared.
“There are enough obstacles to voting as it is, and we are pleased that the Commission will not be in a position to abuse Utahns’ personal information,” said Catherine Weller, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Utah. “With the Commission disbanded, we hope to shift our focus from this misguided commission to developing sound policies that help voters. The League is dedicated to ensuring that our elections remain free, fair and accessible.”
“Our organizations got involved in order to defend against a needless invasion into voter privacy,” said Antonella Packard, State Director of LULAC Utah. “We remain vigilant and ready to respond to any future efforts to suppress voters, which are antithetical to our American democracy.”
“We are pleased that Utah’s strict guidelines for voter privacy were not compromised,” said Myrna Pérez, deputy director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “States were right to bristle at these requests, and at least temporarily, this attack on our democratic systems has been thwarted.”
The suit came after a federal judge in Washington, D.C. had declined to bar states from sharing data with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the panel’s vice-chair who wrote the initial request asking for information. Kobach had previously asked states to withhold their data until the court issued a ruling. It is the latest in a series of legal challenges to Kobach’s letter and the commission’s work, and follows other lawsuits by the Brennan Center and Kirkland and Ellis LLP in Indiana and Texas.
Lean more about the “Election Integrity” commission on the Brennan Center’s resource page here.