President Donald Trump’s controversial voter fraud commission was disbanded last week, but plaintiffs in a Texas lawsuit want more assurances about the safety of voter information. The question of what voter data Texas can release to such commissions and what safeguards they must ensure stems from a lawsuit filed in July by the Texas NAACP and the Texas League of Women Voters seeking to block the state from handing over its voter rolls to the federal commission. Texas election law includes provisions that prohibit the information from being used for commercial purposes. If the information was given to the commission, plaintiffs argued, it would be open to public review under a federal law, allowing businesses to sidestep the state law banning its use for commercial purposes. It would also put the data at risk of a breach, plaintiffs said.
With the commission dissolved, the imminent threat of the information’s release is gone. But plaintiffs say they’re seeking to ensure the information is safeguarded if another federal agency comes asking for it. A temporary block of the state’s release of the information is being appealed by the state, which wants the case thrown out.
“We’re going to reach out to the state to see if we can come up with some sort of joint agreement for winding down the lawsuit in a way that makes us satisfied that voter rights are going to be protected,” said Myrna Pérez, a lawyer for the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University’s Law School, which represented the plaintiffs in the case. “We are not suggesting there is no way and no information that could be sent over striking the balance the Legislature struck in crafting the election law, but we’re worried about the balance.”