Voting Groups Applaud Downfall of Trump Commission But Remain Vigilant

January 4, 2018

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. The groups together had filed a lawsuit to halt that handover in July.

President 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 & Ellis LLP, and David R. Irvine and Janet Jenson, attorneys from Salt Lake City – had been working productively to resolve the issue with Lieutenant Governor Cox’s office and the Utah Attorney General’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.

The dissolution of the Commission is expected to facilitate the prompt resolution of this matter. Moving forward, the League of Women Voters and LULAC Utah, along with their counsel, will closely monitor any efforts by the federal government to compromise the voting rights of Utah voters.  

“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.”  

“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 on account of the Commission’s efforts,” said Myrna Pérez, deputy director of the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program. “Utahns were right to bristle at these requests, and at least this attack on our democratic systems has been avoided.” 

The Utah suit came after Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, the panel’s vice-chair. wrote a request to all states asking for sensitive information. This suit follows other lawsuits by the Brennan Center and Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Indiana and Texas, and is in addition to a series of direct legal challenges to Kobach’s letter and the commission’s work.

Lean more about the “Election Integrity” commission on the Brennan Center’s resource page here.

For more information or to schedule an interview with a Brennan Center expert, please contact Rebecca Autrey at rebecca.autrey@nyu.edu or 646-292-8316. For the League of Women Voters of Utah, contact Catherine Weller catherine@wellerbookworks.com or 801-671-9939. And for LULAC Utah, contact Antonella Packard at lulacutah@gmail.com or 801-210-7955.

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