A federal judge denied on Monday a request for a temporary restraining order to stop Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and President Donald Trump’s election integrity commission from collecting a trove of voter data from state election officials.
Colleen Kollar-Kotelly, U.S. district judge for the District of Columbia, denied the restraining order in a lawsuit against the commission, filed earlier this month by the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
In a statement, Kobach called the ruling a “major victory for government accountability, transparency and the public’s right to know about the integrity of our election processes.” He said in the statement that the commission will continue to work with state election leaders to “gather information and identify opportunities to improve election integrity.”
EPIC president and executive director Marc Rotenberg said earlier this month that he thought the data disclosure was an unlawful invasion of privacy and that the commission did not have the standing to collect the data.
In a statement released Monday, Rotenberg said EPIC would “push forward.”
“The commission cannot evade privacy obligations by playing a shell game with the nation’s voting records,” Rotenberg said in the statement.
The commission had asked states to stop sending in information while the court reviewed the restraining order. Kobach told The Topeka Capital-Journal last week that Arkansas had already sent in its data but that the commission either returned or destroyed it and was not in possession of any state’s voter data.
As vice chair of Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, Kobach last month requested “publicly available voter roll data,” including registrants’ full names, addresses, dates of birth, party affiliations, partial social security numbers and other personal information in order to “fully analyze vulnerabilities and issues related to voter registration and voting.”
The commission has drawn several lawsuits since its founding this spring, and some states refused to comply with Kobach’s request.