A Democrat Texas judge blocked the Secretary of State (TxSOS) from turning over data to President Donald Trump’s Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity from the public voter rolls. The TxSOS is required by state law to turn over the public information to anyone who requests it properly as long as it is not for commercial use.
Judge Tim Sulak, a Democrat who serves on the 353rd District Court located in Travis County, filed a temporary restraining order that prevents TxSOS Rolando Pablos from turning over voter information to the commission established by President Donald Trump in June, according to a spokesman from the TxSOS office.
This action by Judge Sulak follows on the heels of a report from the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) that revealed 12 Texas counties have more registered voters than voting-age adults who live in their county. Those counties are: Loving, Brooks, Irion, McMullen, Kenedy, Jim Hogg, Culberson, Edwards, Roberts, Polk, Kent, and Cottle.
While not speaking directly about this case, TxSOS spokesman Sam Taylor pointed Breitbart Texas to public court documents in which the agency argues that Texas law requires the office “to produce information from the statewide computerized voter registration list…to any requestor who complies with the statute’s procedures” – that is, to any person or organization that fills out the form, pays the fee and signs an affidavit certifying that the information will not be used for commercial purposes. The public information does not include information such as Social Security number, military status, or party affiliation. The information does include the primary election the person last voted in, but that is not necessarily an indication of the voter’s political affiliation, Taylor explained.”We get about 400 requests per year for this information,” Taylor stated.
He said political campaigns and candidates request this information on a regular basis. It is also requested frequently by universities and other government entities.
The commission signed the form (attachment 1 below) on September 13 and paid the fee of $3,437 on September 19, according to information obtained by Breitbart Texas from the TxSOS office.
Attachment 2 below is the State’s response to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity from TxSOS Pablos.
“The Secretary of State’s office will provide the Election Integrity Commission with public information and will protect the private information of Texas citizens while working to maintain the security and integrity of our state’s elections system,” Pablos wrote in the June 30 response. “As always, my office will continue to exercise the utmost care whenever sensitive voter information is required to be released by state or federal law.”
The TxSOS said the public information contains the voter’s full first and last names, middle names or initials, addresses, date of birth, political party, voter history from 2006 to present, whether the voter is in active or inactive status, and if the registration has been canceled. There are some exceptions to the information deemed public. Those are defined in the response below.
“The SOS intends to follow State law in response to the Commission’s request – no more, no less – just as it has in the past with similar requests from individuals and organizations from across the political spectrum,” TxSOS stated in the court pleading (attachment 3 below).
The statement below also includes a timeline of the State’s interaction with the commission.
Attachment 4 below, lists more than 800 requests for voter information processed by the TxSOS processed from January 2015 through June 30, 2017.
The League of Women Voters of Texas and the Texas NAACP filed the lawsuit against Pablos and Keith Ingram who heads up the Texas Elections Division for the TxSOS office, in July.
The restraining order expires after 14 days unless it is replaced by another temporary injunction. The requested information has not been released to the commission pending the outcome of the lawsuit.
The Texas Attorney General’s office is defending the State in court.
On Wednesday, Breitbart Texas reported that 12 Texas counties have more registered voters than they have voting-adults living in the county, according to a report released by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF). The PILF warns that flaws in voter files can be a precursor to individualized fraud or worse.
“Voter fraud begins with corrupted voter rolls,” said J. Christian Adams, PILF President and member of President Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. “Our nation’s voter rolls have records that cannot be distinguished between living or dead; citizen or alien; resident or relocated.”
Editor’s Note: This article has been updated with additional information.
Bob Price serves as associate editor and senior political news contributor for Breitbart Texas. He is a founding member of the Breitbart Texas team. Follow him on Twitter @BobPriceBBTX, GAB, and Facebook.