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Lawsuit seeks to block Indiana voter data from Trump panel

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Two groups are suing the Indiana secretary of state's office in an effort to block the release of voter data requested by a White House commission investigating President Donald Trump's allegations of widespread voter fraud.

The lawsuit, which comes amid similar legal challenges in New Hampshire and Washington D.C., was filed Tuesday in state court by the NAACP and the League of Women Voters of Indiana.

Without citing proof, Trump has repeatedly said he believes millions of fraudulent ballots were cast in the November election, when he carried the Electoral College but lost the popular vote to Democrat Hillary Clinton.

The commission launched to investigate those claims is being chaired by Vice President Mike Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who sent requests for detailed voter information to all 50 states.

Already, Kobach has faced backlash from Republicans and Democrats alike over the request. In the face of legal challenges, the commission told states this week to hold off on providing the data.

The Indiana lawsuit argues that state law prohibits Secretary of State Connie Lawson from releasing voter information to a third-party in most cases, if that third-party plans to release the information to someone else.

The lawsuit notes that Kobach said in his letter that he plans to make any documents submitted "available to the public." The groups argue that would "run afoul of the State's carefully-crafted limitations on the use of voter data" which "may be released only under certain limited circumstances and conditions imposed by Indiana's election laws."

Indiana law does allow a third party to release the data to other people if it is used for "political activities or political fundraising activities," but the advocates argue that doesn't apply to Trump's commission.

A spokeswoman for Lawson, a Republican, declined to comment on the lawsuit. But she has previously said that she would release a limited amount of the data, including the voters' names, addresses and the congressional district they live in.

It remains unclear exactly how the data will be used. Pence spokesman Marc Lotter said the commission will look for potential irregularities in voter registrations and advise states on how they can improve their practices.

But many secretaries of state say all or part of the requested data is not public in their states. Some Democrats have said the commission is merely trying to provide cover for Trump's unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud. They have also suggested that its findings could be used to justify stringent new laws that make it difficult for many voters to cast a ballot.

Seventeen states and the District of Columbia are refusing to comply with the commission's request. Many others, including Indiana, plan to provide only limited publicly available information.

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  1. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

  2. You just need my social security number sent to your Gmail account to process then loan, right? Beware scammers indeed.

  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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