Hearing halted on blocking Texas data for Trump election panel


Highlights

After AG Ken Paxton appeals, court cancels Monday hearing on providing voter info to Trump election panel.

Texas officials still blocked from providing the information while the appeal continues.

A hearing over whether Texas can comply with a Trump administration request for state voter data, set for Monday in Austin, has been canceled by a state appeals court.

State District Judge Tim Sulak had issued a temporary restraining order on Oct. 3 to block Texas Secretary of State Rolando Pablos from providing information on Texas voters — including full names, addresses and voting history — to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton appealed, telling the Austin-based 3rd Court of Appeals that the judge lacked the authority to issue a ruling because Pablos had immunity from being sued. Paxton also asked the appeals court to halt Monday’s hearing.

The 3rd Court agreed Thursday to cancel proceedings in Sulak’s court while it considers Paxton’s appeal and gave the organizations that sued to block release of the voter information — the League of Women Voters of Texas and the NAACP — until Oct. 23 to answer Paxton’s arguments.

On Friday, however, the appeals court also extended Sulak’s order blocking release of the voter information while a three-judge panel considers Paxton’s appeal.

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The organizations argue that releasing the information could put private, personal data at risk of disclosure.

President Donald Trump created the commission in May to investigate his claim that millions of votes were illegally cast for his Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, in last November’s election. The panel is to study whether ballots have been cast by immigrants in the country illegally, voters using names of the dead and people voting in more than one state.

To aid its investigation, the commission asked election officials in each state to provide the full names of all registered voters as well as their addresses, birth dates, political affiliation, the last four digits of Social Security numbers, the history of election participation since 2006, military status, felony convictions and overseas voter information.

Pablos told the commission that he could supply only the information that is generally available to the public, which does not include partial Social Security numbers or military status. He has not yet provided that information.



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