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Idaho Dems sue to block Denney from releasing any voter info to Trump commission

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By Betsy Z. Russell

BOISE – The Idaho Democratic Party has filed a lawsuit seeking a temporary restraining order to block Secretary of State Lawerence Denney from sending any voter information to President Trump’s election integrity commission.

“No one, absolutely no one in Idaho has ever said they wished more of their private information would fall into the hands of hackers, or telemarketers, or even the federal government,” said Bert Marley, state party chairman. “While Secretary Denney has indicated that he may not send all of the information the Trump commission wants, he simply failed to offer assurances that this is even a legal request or that the information will be safeguarded and kept private.”

The Democrats are arguing that the commission’s request is illegal under Idaho’s public records law, because it would release private information for commercial use. “By saying they will publicize this information, the commission leaves it open for commercial interests to target Idaho voters,” the party said in a news release. “Further, by failing to provide a secure way of transmitting the information, the commission allows for other nefarious ways for commercial interests to capture and exploit this private information.”

The party filed a complaint in Fourth District Court in Boise, seeking an emergency temporary restraining order and a preliminary injunction stopping Denney’s office from releasing any information. The case has been assigned to 4th District Judge Deborah Bail.

The Trump election commission already is being sued in federal court in Washington, D.C., the Democrats noted, and has temporarily stopped accepting state voter information, and instructed states to pause in their responses pending a federal court ruling, which could come as soon as today.

“Secretary Denney is not a party to the D.C. case, and therefore any ruling from that court is unlikely to impact IDP’s request for the court to rule on Idaho state law,” the Democrats said in their release.

Denney said earlier that he wouldn’t provide all the information requested by the commission, but would be guided by the Idaho Public Records Act, which makes some basic information in Idaho’s voter roll public; it’s routinely requested each election cycle by Idaho political parties and candidates. He also said he still was reviewing the request, along with the Idaho Attorney General’s office. And Denney agreed to meet with Democratic legislative leaders on July 14 to discuss their concerns about it.

Attorney Sam Dotters-Katz said, “The action filed today is about protecting the legal rights and privacy of all Idahoans. We are simply asking that the Secretary of State follow Idaho law to ensure that the private information of all Idaho voters stays private.”

Dean Ferguson, party spokesman, said Denney was just served with the complaint late Tuesday afternoon. “We’ll expect to hear from him through our lawyers,” Ferguson said.

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Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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