State of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Voter Record Publication Challenge

Voter Reference Foundation v. Schmidt

Lawsuit filed by the Voter Reference Foundation against Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Albert Schmidt (R) challenging the state for prohibiting the sharing or publication of voter data on the internet. In March 2022, the plaintiff filed a request seeking access to Pennsylvania’s “Full Voter Export List” compiling all voter data across the state. In the request, the plaintiff specified that the state’s online form available to request access to the list unfairly restricted their First Amendment rights by requiring them to agree not to publish the information online. The plaintiff alleges that the Pennsylvania Department of State declined its request, pursuant to Pennsylvania’s Internet Sharing Ban, which stipulates that requesters must surrender their rights to publish the records on the internet in order to receive access. The plaintiff argues that this ban denies them the opportunity to evaluate the state’s ability to maintain clean and accurate voter records. The plaintiff claims that the state’s actions violate the Public Disclosure Provision of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which requires states to maintain and provide an unqualified right of access to voter records. The plaintiff also alleges that the Pennsylvania Internet Sharing Ban violates the First Amendment’s protection over political speech, and asks the court to prohibit the defendant from enforcing the Internet Sharing Ban as it relates to voter record access.

STATUS: The case is currently pending before the district court where litigation is ongoing.

Case Documents

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