A federal judge on Tuesday declined to temporarily bar President Trump’s voting commission from collecting voter data from states and the District, saying a federal appeals court likely will be deciding the legality of the request. U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the District denied an emergency motion by Common Cause, a nonprofit government watchdog group. The group alleged the request for voting history and political party affiliation by the Trump administration violates a Watergate-era law that prohibits the government from gathering information about how Americans exercise their First Amendment rights. Lamberth advised the group to flesh out its claims by documenting the commission’s activity at a recent July 19 meeting while the lawsuit continues.
“I’m just a way station [to an appeals] judge who will get to decide” the matter, Lamberth said, urging the parties to build a fuller record for higher courts.
The decision came in the latest attempt by opponents to block the commission’s request for the voting information of more than 150 million registered voters.
Commission officials have said 30 states have agreed to share at least some data, adding that it requested only publicly available data and would anonymize any information it released.