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Florida Democratic Party sued state agency for making public voter file

Florida Democratic Party sued state agency for making public voter file

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Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz was charged with tampering with public records during the Florida Democratic Party’s primary, after reports that she had threatened to expose the identity of a judge who oversaw her primary runoff against fellow Florida state lawmaker Alex Sink. | Getty

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Lawyers for Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D) are suing the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission, claiming it violated the law by allowing the Florida Democratic Party to reveal her confidential voter file before the March 1 primary.

The suit, which was filed today in Dade County Circuit Court by the Republican-leaning Legal Action Center, says that the state agency went against its own rules by making public the Democrats’ voter file after the Florida Democratic Party, citing a recent Florida court ruling, said it would not release the file. The LAC called the file “the most important voter information on file ever to be disclosed to political campaigns.”

The filing cites no specific laws and says that the state’s decision to release the file contradicted law enforcement officials, who have said they have tried to avoid disclosing sensitive voters’ information to the public.

The Florida Democratic Party has said the file contains no identifying information, but instead includes such biographical and demographic data as the voter’s gender, their political affiliations, their age and marital status.

The LAC first claimed that Democratic state party chair Terrie Rizzo did not have a basis to make the request because the file is not a public record on the Public Records Act. Instead, the group said, the file would only have been a “confidential personal record of a voter’s personal information.” The LAC claimed that Wasserman Schultz had “threatened to reveal, in open court, the identity of a judge who oversees the upcoming Democratic primary,” and that she had previously called for the judge’s removal from the case.

In a statement, Wasserman Schultz’s lawyers said: “If the records request does not pertain to a public purpose, it is up to the state to decide who has the right to examine and make public the information in its possession.”

The LAC filed the original lawsuit in mid-February, saying that the party’s lawyers had refused to reveal the information that the party had asked for. The case

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