A Maine federal appeals court ruled Monday that Maine had to release its voter registration information to a conservative-leaning public interest law firm, The Associated Press (AP) reported.
While the law firm celebrated the ruling, Democratic Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said she was “deeply concerned” that such distribution could lead to voter harassment, the outlet reported. (RELATED: Maine’s Top Court Declines To Weigh In On Trump Ballot Access, Punts To SCOTUS)
The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) requested a copy of Maine’s voter files and histories in 2019, which Bellows denied. PILF filed a lawsuit in response in 2020, according to a press release from PILF.
“This is [a] monumental victory for transparency in elections,” President J. Christian Adams of PILF said in a press release. “The use restrictions would have prohibited basic voter roll research and limited PILF’s ability to share its findings with the public. PILF was prohibited from comparing Maine’s and New York’s voter rolls to spot duplicate registrations under the law. Other states should think twice before passing laws that restrict the public from accessing the voter file and speaking about any errors,” he added.
First Circuit Court of Appeals: Voter Roll is a Public Record, Maine Cannot Punish Voter Roll Researchershttps://t.co/KyIFbK1S8S
— PublicInterestLegal (@PILFoundation) February 5, 2024
The organization won access to voter files in Illinois and Maryland using a similar disclosure law, according to the press release. PILF also sued the State of Hawaii in Sept. for the release of their voter records, which is still pending.
PILF describes itself as an organization dedicated to “the right to vote and preserves the Constitutional framework of American elections through litigation, investigation, research, and education” that has been active in election litigation since before the contentious 2020 presidential election.