On February 2, 2024, the First Circuit Court of Appeals rendered a decision in the voter privacy legislation case of The Public Interest Legal Foundation v. Shenna Bellows, Secretary of State of Maine.
Election integrity is the focus of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public interest law company. The Foundation was established to support states and other parties fighting for election lawlessness and integrity in the United States.
According to the Public Interest Legal Foundation, they use litigation, research, investigation, and teaching to defend the right to vote and maintain the constitutional foundation of American elections.
The Public Interest Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit regarding Maine’s voter privacy statute of 2021. Because of the use of Maine’s voter list, the group has sued Shenna Bellows, the secretary of state. The group claimed that the limitations made it difficult to compare voter lists between states.
“To obtain a copy of the voter roll and to challenge the state’s use restrictions that prohibit using Maine’s voter roll as a resource to study other state’s voter rolls and the discussion of specific errors found,” the Public Interest Legal Foundation claims that they filed a lawsuit against Bellows.
After a lower court’s decision against Maine, the matter was heard by the First Circuit. The First Circuit decided against Maine and in favor of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, upholding the lower court’s verdict.
The decision held that Maine’s Party/Campaign Use Voter File (“Voter File”) is subject to the requirements of Section 8(i)(1) of the National Voter Registration Act, which mandates the public disclosure of “all records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters,” 52 U.S.C. § 20507(i)(1). The decision upheld the lower court’s conclusion that the National Voter Registration Act supersedes Maine’s limitations on the use and dissemination of the Voter File.