Watchdog group EPIC, was dealt a severe blow in their effort to be granted permission to review privacy concerns while Trump’s election commission carries out their investigation of potential voter fraud in the 2016 Presidential Election.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit denied a lawsuit filed by EPIC, and upheld a lower court’s decision on the matter.
According to Reuters:
EPIC had argued that under federal law, the commission was required to conduct a privacy-impact assessment before gathering personal data. But the three-judge appeals court panel ruled unanimously that the privacy law at issue was intended to protect individuals, not groups like EPIC.
Washington-based U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly first denied EPIC’s injunction request in July, in part because the collection of data by the commission was not technically an action by a government agency so was not bound by laws that govern what such entities can do.
This is a big win for the commission that was put together by President Trump in May after he made accusations that mass voter fraud is repeatedly occurring around the nation. The commission will now be able to see through the rest of their investigation, pending any more legal action taken by EPIC and/or any other groups who have it out for the commission.
According to Reuters, the data requested by the commission and which was a concern of EPIC includes names, the last four digits of Social Security numbers, addresses, birth dates, political affiliation, felony convictions and voting histories. And states have been asked to turn over such data back in June, though 20 states have since refused to comply.
Democrats and Democrat-tied civil rights groups are worried that the commission’s findings will lead to more laws that could hinder future Democrat candidates’ ability to win.
EPIC released the following statement on their website regarding the court’s decision:
“The DC Circuit has issued an order in EPIC’s suit to compel the Commission to conduct a Privacy Impact Assessment required by law and to halt the Presidential Election Commission’s collection of state voter data. The Court held that EPIC, a privacy and open government organization, did not have standing to challenge the Commission’s failure to conduct and publish a privacy assessment as required under the E-Government Act. EPIC’s initial filing led the Commission to suspend the collection of voter data, discontinue the use of an unsafe computer server, and delete the voter information that was unlawfully obtained. Many states and over 150 members of Congress have opposed the Commission’s efforts to collect state voter data.”
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