Trump Administration Destroys Unlawfully Obtained Voter Data in Legal Victory for Individual Citizens, Watchdog Groups

The Trump Administration has confirmed to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia that it has fulfilled its agreement to delete the state voter data that was unlawfully obtained by Trump’s Pence-Kobach Commission — the very relief sought in a suit brought by Democracy Forward on behalf of its clients Common Cause and individual voters Jan Cantler, Anthony Gutierrez, Thomas Kennedy and Ellen Nakhnikian. The lawsuit was filed last year against the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, its Vice Chair Kris Kobach, and the Department of Homeland Security to prevent them from violating the Privacy Act and engaging in other unlawful conduct.

In January of this year, President Trump announced that he was disbanding the Commission, citing the litigation filed against it. The White House then agreed to delete the wrongfully obtained state voter data, and has now confirmed the data has been “entirely deleted” and is “not recoverable.”

Statements follow below from the individual plaintiffs and officials from Common Cause and Democracy Forward.

Paul Seamus Ryan, Common Cause Vice President, Policy & Litigation:

“President Trump’s now-disbanded voter fraud Commission was flawed from the start. Common Cause and its 1.2 million members celebrate the end of this litigation and the destruction of the commission’s illegally collected voter data.”

Jan Cantler:  

“I am gratified that New Yorkers like myself will no longer have our data subjected to use by Kris Kobach and his unlawful Commission. This is a major victory for voting rights”

Anthony Gutierrez:

“In my time as Executive Director of Common Cause Texas, the Pence-Kobach Commission has been one of the most underhanded and shamefully illegal attempts to reduce voter participation. I am grateful that following legal action and citizen resistance the Commission has been terminated.”

Thomas Kennedy:

“As a new American citizen, I am honored to participate in the electoral process unrestricted by the Administration’s aggressive and unlawful Commission. With the destruction of this data, millions of Floridians are now able to more freely exercise their right to vote.”

Ellen Nakhnikian:

“My home city of Rochester, New York holds a historic place in the voting rights movement, and today I am deeply encouraged that Americans across the country can vote without fear of the government illegally using their data.”

Josephine Morse, Senior Counsel, Democracy Forward Foundation:

“We are pleased the Administration realized its grievous error in targeting individual voters, and has deleted the voter data in its possession. We will remain vigilant and continue to push back against unlawful actions that undermine the integrity of our electoral process.”

To read the papers resolving this matter, click here.

To read the original suit, click here.