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Case Name Common Cause v. Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity PR-DC-0009
Docket / Court 1:17-cv-01398-CKK ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Presidential Authority
Case Summary
On July 14, 2017, Common Cause, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting voter's rights, filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs sued the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity ("Commission"), the U.S. Department of ... read more >
On July 14, 2017, Common Cause, a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting voter's rights, filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia. The plaintiffs sued the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity ("Commission"), the U.S. Department of Homeland Security ("DHS"), the U.S. Social Security Administration ("SSA"), and the Vice Chair of the Commission under the Privacy Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. The plaintiffs claimed that the methods the Commission used in investigating potential voter fraud violated the Privacy Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. Specifically, the Vice Chair of the Commission intended to assemble a national "voter file" by collecting states' data on their residents' voting and personal data. Then the Commission intended to compare the "voter file" against data maintained by the DHS and the SSA to discover the names of individuals the Commission deemed "ineligible to vote." The plaintiffs sought declaratory judgment, injunctive relief, and monetary relief.

On July 28, 2017, plaintiffs moved for a temporary restraining order stopping defendants from collecting, maintaining, using, or disseminating voters' voting history and party affiliation, and a motion for injunctive relief in the alternative. Judge Royce C. Lamberth heard oral argument regarding these motions on August 1, 2017, and denied the motion for the temporary restraining order. Judge Lamberth also reserved judgment on the motion for injunctive relief, advising plaintiffs to amend the complaint to include the transcript from a meeting where the Vice Chair specifically directed the Commission staff to obtain any data currently in the hands of the government.

On September 13, 2017, plaintiffs amended the complaint to include the Vice Chair's directives to the Commission. On October 18, 2017, defendants moved to dismiss the complaint for lack of subject-matter jurisdiction arguing that the plaintiffs lack representational standing. Defendants also moved to dismiss the complaint for failure to state a claim under the Privacy Act or the Administrative Procedure Act, arguing that the Commission was not considered an "agency" and the injunctive relief that the plaintiffs sought was not available under either Act.

Before the court could rule on the defendants' motion to dismiss, President Trump signed an executive order on January 3, 2018, terminating the Commission. Following the termination of the commission, plaintiff and defendant counsel came to an agreement after conferring. Based on the status report filed August 3, 2018, defendants agreed to file a notice once the Director of White House Information Technology destroyed the state voter data that was already collected by the Commission. Plaintiffs agreed that after defendants filed that notice, they would voluntarily dismiss this case. On August 29, 2018 defendants filed the notice affirming the voter data had been deleted, and on that same day the plaintiffs dismissed this case with prejudice. The case is now closed.

Caitlin Hatakeyama - 10/05/2018


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Constitutional Clause
Federalism
Freedom of speech/association
Plaintiff Type
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Defendant(s) Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
U.S. Social Security Administration
Vice Chair of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity
Plaintiff Description A nonprofit organization protecting voter disenfranchisement through safeguarding personal information related to voting and party registration.
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Conditional Dismissal
Filing Year 2017
Case Closing Year 2018
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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  Case Studies in Emergency Election Litigation: The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity
The Federal Judicial
Date: Sep. 25, 2018
By: Robert Timothy Reagan (Federal Judicial Center)
[ Detail ] [ PDF ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:17−cv−01398 (D.D.C.)
PR-DC-0009-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/29/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint [ECF# 1]
PR-DC-0009-0001.pdf | Detail
Date: 07/14/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Transcript of Motions Hearing Held Before The Honorable Judge Royce C. Lamberth United States District Judge [ECF# 19]
PR-DC-0009-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/03/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended Complaint [ECF# 21]
PR-DC-0009-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 09/13/2017
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Executive Order [ECF# 42]
PR-DC-0009-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/03/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Status Report [ECF# 51]
PR-DC-0009-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/03/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation of Dismissal [ECF# 54] (D.D.C.)
PR-DC-0009-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 08/29/2018
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Lamberth, Royce C. (FISC, D.D.C.)
PR-DC-0009-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Guzman, Javier M (District of Columbia)
PR-DC-0009-0001 | PR-DC-0009-0002 | PR-DC-0009-0005 | PR-DC-0009-9000
Jones, Karianne M. (District of Columbia)
PR-DC-0009-0001 | PR-DC-0009-0002 | PR-DC-0009-9000
Morse, Josephine T (District of Columbia)
PR-DC-0009-0002 | PR-DC-0009-0005 | PR-DC-0009-9000
Perryman, Skye L. (District of Columbia)
PR-DC-0009-0002 | PR-DC-0009-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Borson, Joseph Evan (District of Columbia)
PR-DC-0009-0004 | PR-DC-0009-0005 | PR-DC-0009-0006 | PR-DC-0009-9000
Federighi, Carol (District of Columbia)
PR-DC-0009-0004 | PR-DC-0009-0005 | PR-DC-0009-0006 | PR-DC-0009-9000
Readler, Chad A. (District of Columbia)
PR-DC-0009-0004 | PR-DC-0009-0005 | PR-DC-0009-0006
Shapiro, Elizabeth J. (District of Columbia)
PR-DC-0009-0004 | PR-DC-0009-0005 | PR-DC-0009-0006 | PR-DC-0009-9000
Wolfe, Kristina Ann (District of Columbia)
PR-DC-0009-0004 | PR-DC-0009-0005 | PR-DC-0009-0006 | PR-DC-0009-9000

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