Minnesota Court of Appeal has declared a lower court order to Steve Simon, Secretary of State, about voters who refused to give a group claiming that he could show voters' fraud.
Simon argued that the details of Andrew Cilek and Minnesota Voters Alliance over the data are considered to be public information. Currently, there are names, phone numbers, and voter history among those items available to the public. But Cilek wants all voter data, including not normally available to the public.
However, the Court of Appeal said on Monday that it is public data unless specifically withheld by date of birth, Social Security number, driver license number, for example.
The state secretary does not release “details of voter status (active, inactive, ruined, challenged), cause challenges (maron, address, etc.), or register, status and information about voting history of all Minnesota voters. . . active, inactive or destroyed, ”said the court.
“There is no doubt that the MVA sought the data for political activities, an allowable objective,” Judge Rene Worke wrote on behalf of the panel through a judge (see ruling).
The state secretary argues that the language ’in statute gives the discretion to disclose this 'other' information and is therefore not public data.
We are not convinced. If the state secretary has unrealized discretion to disclose controversial data, we do not need to determine, it would be unbiased to conclude that the legislature classified that data on individuals as private or confidential data.
The judge said Simon is not empowered to determine what public data may be disclosed; that is the position of the Comptroller.
“Most agreed that if a person wanted to identify all voter fraud in Minnesota, the best place to start is to list people whose active status has changed to an ineligible status,” Cilek said. He announced his suit against Simon in 2017.
[update 1:38 p.m.] – Simon State Secretary says that the case is likely to go to Minnesota Supreme Court.
“I have confidence in law enforcement and county solicitors who investigate and prosecute some cases in fact ineligible voting in Minnesota,” he said in a press release. “And I really take it that I have a duty to protect Minnesotans' voting rights by making a determination against those who question thousands of eligible voters or who look at them.” T