A federal judge will hear arguments Tuesday over whether a Watergate-era law prohibiting the government from collecting data on how Americans exercise their First Amendment rights bars President Trump’s Election Integrity Commission from American’s voting records. U.S. District Judge Royce C. Lamberth of the District set the hearing Monday after Common Cause, a nonprofit government watchdog group, alleged that the Trump administration was violating the Privacy Act of 1974 by seeking the “quintessentially First Amendment-protected political party affiliation and voter history data” of every American. The court could rule on the request for a temporary restraining order as early as Tuesday.
The action marks the latest attempt by opponents to block the commission’s request for the voting information of more than 150 million registered voters. Trump created the commission after alleging that widespread fraud cost him the popular vote in November.
State leaders from both parties have voiced objections to the effort’s potential to reveal personal information, suppress voter participation and encroach on states’ oversight of voting laws.
Administration officials have said 30 states have agreed to share at least some data, adding that the commission requested only publicly available data and would anonymize any information it released.