Lawsuit: Maryland Hides Voter Data amid Cummings Replacement Election

(BALTIMORE, MD.) – December 16, 2019: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) filed a lawsuit today against the Maryland State Board of Elections (MSBOE) for failing to disclose voter registration records under federal law (Public Interest Legal Foundation v. Linda Lamone).

“Maryland is refusing to follow federal election law and is denying access to public election records ahead of the  7th Congressional District Special Election and the 2020 contests,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Maryland should choose transparency over concealing list maintenance records.

The initial complaint filed today, December 16, explains the Foundation initially requested copies of Maryland’s statewide voter file and select voting histories on November 13, pursuant to the application procedure set forth by the MSBOE. The State notified PILF two days later that its application was denied because the organization was not local. This reason was given despite an August 2019 court ruling against the MSBOE, finding that federal inspection rights over such data supersede state rules preventing outside access.

The Foundation seeks relief under Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which requires officials to make voter list maintenance documents like the voter roll itself available for inspection to the general public. The law also offers a private right to file a lawsuit if denied.

In the interest of a speedy resolution ahead of the CD-7 special contests in Spring 2020, the Foundation is also filing for a motion for summary judgment.

The Foundation recently sued the City of Detroit, Michigan, for failing to maintain its voter list from dead and duplicate registrants on December 10. Both lawsuits are intended to help ensure the best voter roll data quality ahead of the 2020 Presidential Election.

The new case was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The case number is 1:19-cv-03564. The attorney for the Public Interest Legal Foundation is Noel H. Johnson. Baltimore-based Glenn E. Bushel and Richard L. Costella of Tydings & Rosenberg LLP serve as local counsel.

Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is a 501(c)(3) public interest law firm dedicated to election integrity. The Foundation exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections. Drawing on numerous experts in the field, PILF seeks to protect the right to vote and preserve the Constitutional framework of American elections.

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