HARRISBURG, PA — Yesterday, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania (LWVPA) filed an amicus brief in Public Interest Legal Foundation v. Schmidt, a case before the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, urging the court to reject an attempt to disclose personal information of voters to a third-party, private group. The League is represented by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.
The lawsuit was brought originally by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), seeking an order from the court requiring the state of Pennsylvania to disclose the personal information of Pennsylvanians who received letters from the Commonwealth advising that non-citizens may have been inadvertently registered to vote through a PennDOT software error. The district court ruled that the names and addresses of some of these recipients could be publicly disclosed, pursuant to the National Voting Right Act of 1993 (NVRA).
“The NVRA was passed to protect eligible and registered voters and encourage participation in civic life,” said Susan Gobreski, LWVPA vice president of policy. “What PILF seeks here is a blatant attempt to intimidate potential voters, and the League will never ignore such actions.”
According to the League’s brief, PILF’s effort seeking to unnecessarily disclose personal information undermines the purpose of the NVRA, threatens to violate Pennsylvanians’ right to privacy, and could dissuade eligible voters from participating in the election process. Furthermore, public disclosure of such personal information could lead to intimidation, harassment, or wrongful accusations of voter fraud.
"Third-party organizations like PILF seek to target vulnerable voters and deter them from making their voices heard," said Celina Stewart, chief counsel and senior director of advocacy & litigation at the League of Women Voters of the US. "The League of Women Voters was integral in the passage of the National Voter Registration Act, and its purpose was to encourage voter registration and participation, not create a pathway for voter intimidation or harassment."
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