CONCORD, N.H. — President Donald Trump's commission on election fraud continues to defend its request for detailed voter information in court ahead of its first meeting later this week.
The commission, of which Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is the vice chairman, had asked states to provide publicly available data including names, birth dates and partial Social Security numbers, but last week it told states to hold off until a judge rules on a lawsuit filed by the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington.
The group, which argued the commission should have completed an assessment of privacy concerns before making the request, last week updated its complaint to add the director of White House Information technology to its suit after the commission said a repurposed computer system in that office would store the data. In a response filed Monday, the commission argued neither the commission nor the office that will store the data is an agency required to complete the privacy assessment.
It also repeated its arguments that there is nothing wrong with one government entity sharing public information with another and that the privacy group has not made a case that any of its members would be harmed.
"By collecting voter data from the states, the commission seeks to 'enhance the American people's confidence in the integrity of the voting processes used in federal elections,'" the commission wrote, quoting from the executive order that created the panel.
Trump, a Republican, created the commission in May to investigate his allegations — offered without evidence — that millions of people voted illegally in 2016. Democrats blasted the commission as a biased panel bent on voter suppression, and 17 states and the District of Columbia are refusing to comply with the commission's request. Many others plan to provide only limited publicly available information.
In addition to the lawsuit filed by the privacy group, the American Civil Liberties Union has filed lawsuits in Washington, Florida and New Hampshire. The commission's first meeting is Wednesday.