Judge: Voting panel must give Dem more access

A federal judge has upheld a lawsuit filed by a Democratic member of the White House voting commission who claimed he’s being shut out of commission activities.

U.S. District Court Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly ruled Friday that the voting panel must give Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap (pictured) access to certain documents.

“Plaintiff has a right, as a commissioner, to ‘fully participate’ in the proceedings of the Commission,” the judge wrote. “In the Court’s view, his assertion that he will be unable to fully participate without the information contained in relevant documents that the Commission has not shared with the public has merit.”

Dunlap claimed in a lawsuit filed last month that in deliberately keeping him out of the loop, the commission’s Republican leaders were threatening to turn the effort into a “one-sided, partisan undertaking.”

Dunlap said in his complaint that he learned about a planned commission meeting only when he received an email from a conservative Minnesota “election integrity” informing him it had been invited. He also said he wasn’t included in planning the panel’s September meeting, or on the panel’s controversial June request for sensitive voter roll data.

Judge Kollar-Kotelly ruled that the commission should have included Dunlap in all three instances.

The ruling is just the latest setback for the embattled commission, which has been led by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and is charged with producing a report next year. Some members have said the panel’s work is on hold as it attempts to deal with a spate of lawsuits. In addition to Dunlap’s suit, the commission has been sued over its request for voter data, its procedures for storing and safeguarding data, and over public transparency issues.

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