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EPIC's Voter Data Case Moves Forward After Court Denies Injunction

A federal district court in Washington, DC has denied EPIC’s motion for an injunction against the Presidential Election Commission and declined to block the Commission’s nationwide collection of voter data. As EPIC told the court last week, the Commission failed to undertake and publish a Privacy Impact Assessment before collecting voter data and violated the constitutional right to information privacy. The court agreed that EPIC had “standing” to bring the case because the Commission had “an obligation to disclose information” and because the Commission’s actions “required [EPIC] to expend resources” in order to obtain a Privacy Impact Assessment. But the court concluded that it could not halt the Commission’s plan to aggregate millions of voter records because the Commission is exempt from statutes that govern the conduct of federal “agencies.” The court noted, however, that “this determination may need to be revisited” at a later time. The court also warned the Commission must “strictly abide” by promises to only collect information that is “already publicly available” and to “de-identif[y]” voter data “to the extent it is made public.” EPIC intends to press forward with the lawsuit, which led the Commission to suspend the collection of voter data two weeks ago. The case is EPIC v. Commission, No. 17-1320 (D.D.C. filed July 3, 2017). [Press Release]

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