Allegations that Battleground Texas broke the law during its voter registration activities are “entirely without foundation,” the Democratic group wrote in a letter to Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst on Tuesday.
Dewhurst, citing a secretly recorded video of Battleground volunteers in Bexar County, had earlier called for a criminal investigation because of allegations that privacy laws had been broken.
But Graham Wilson, an attorney for the group, told Dewhurst in the letter that his call for a probe “reflects no familiarity with either the law” or rules promulgated by the office of the secretary of state, which handles voter registration regulations at the state level.
He said opinions from Attorney General Greg Abbott demonstrate that phone numbers gathered during the voter registration process were considered public information. Phone numbers allegedly copied down by Battleground volunteers sparked the accusations in the first place.
“In short, Battleground Texas is operating in full compliance with the law as set forth in the Attorney General’s legal opinions, and with attention paid as appropriate to the Secretary of State’s official guidance in this area,” Wilson wrote.
As for the phone numbers, Wilson cited three opinions from the office of the attorney general, including one from 2010 stemming from a case in Dallas County. In that opinion, Abbott’s office concluded that “the county may not withhold the telephone numbers” from a requestor who had asked for the information.
Battleground also cited a pamphlet from the office of the secretary of state that says in part that a volunteer deputy registrar “may also copy the relevant information from the application in writing just as you would be able to do if you went to the registrar’s office and pulled a copy of the original application.”
Wilson said the group does not photocopy voter registration applications and “has not used and is not retaining phone numbers taken off voter registration forms by volunteers.”
See here for the background. I’ve got a copy of the AG opinion here and the letter to Dewhurst, which shows him the level of respect he deserves, here. Not really a whole lot to add at this point – either a DA files a charge or convenes a grand jury (Abbott handed off to Bexar County DA Susan Reed, who last I checked was seeking a pinch hitter) or they don’t. Any lawyers want to take a crack at evaluating this one? BOR has more.