Protecting Privacy Rights and Opposing the Release of Personally-Identifying Information of Every Registered Voter in PennsylvaniaOn October 5, 2021 by Schnader in News
UPDATE: On October 26, 2021, the Commonwealth Court issued a Memorandum and Order granting the Application to Intervene filed in this matter by Schnader and the American Civil Liberties Union. This means that the registered voters and nonpartisan organizations we represent will be able to fully participate in the litigation.
On October 4, 2021, a team led by Keith E. Whitson and Stephen J. Shapiro, representing registered voters and nonpartisan organizations, filed a petition in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania seeking to protect privacy rights and opposing the release of personally-identifying information of every registered voter in Pennsylvania.
Along with the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the American Civil Liberties Union Foundation, Schnader filed an Application seeking to join a lawsuit recently filed by the Pennsylvania Attorney General. The Attorney General filed the underlying lawsuit to block a subpoena issued by the Intergovernmental Operations Committee of the Pennsylvania Senate. The Senate Committee’s subpoena would compel Pennsylvania’s Secretary of State to disclose – to the Senate Committee and its consultants – a range of constitutionally-protected private personal information of approximately nine million registered voters. The Senate Committee issued this subpoena as part of a purported investigation and audit of the 2020 election.
Schnader and its clients informed the Court that release of the personally-identifying information sought by the Senate Committee, including driver’s license numbers and the last four digits of social security numbers linked to names and addresses, would violate the constitutional privacy rights of Pennsylvania voters. Schnader also asked the Court to stop the release of this sensitive information because such disclosure carries real risks of identity theft and financial fraud, especially when compiled together for all nine million Pennsylvania registered voters in one dataset.