President Trump’s voter integrity commission has suspended collection of states’ voter data until after a judge rules on whether the panel is abiding by data privacy laws, the commission’s vice chairman said in a court filing Monday.
Kris W. Kobach also said they will switch the system used to collect states’ data, ditching a U.S. Army website whose security had been questioned, and instead using a White House system that is already set up to be able to handle sensitive personal information.
Data from Arkansas, which was already sent to the Army site, won’t be downloaded, and will instead be deleted, Mr. Kobach said.
The announcement marked at least a short-term victory for the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which had sued to try to derail the collection, saying the panel had skipped over a number of rules for protecting Americans’ private data.
EPIC is asking a judge to issue a temporary restraining order blocking data collection. A hearing was held Friday and the judge is still pondering her ruling.
“Until the Judge rules on the TRO, we request that you hold on submitting any data,” Mr. Kobach wrote to state elections officials.
His request last month for names, dates of birth, partial Social Security numbers, voting history and other data that localities may be collecting when they register voters sparked an outcry from Mr. Trump’s political opponents and from some GOP state officials, who questioned the need to turn over the data.
Mr. Kobach wants to compare the information with federal databases to try to see what percentage of voters are erroneously on the voter lists, but opponents fear he’s setting up a massive voter purge that could erase legitimate but infrequent voters from the rolls.