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Miami-Dade Democratic lawyers to challenge Trump voter fraud commission



A newly formed group of Miami-Dade Democratic lawyers plans to challenge President Donald Trump's voter fraud commission's request for Florida and other states to provide voter roll data.

The Presidential Advisory Commission for Voter Integrity sent a June 28 letter to the Florida Division of Elections asking officials to hand over voter data by July 14. The commission wants voters' names, registration status, political party affiliation, voting history, social security numbers and other information.

Ben Kuehne, a lawyer who formed the new Miami-Dade Democratic Lawyers Council, said the council is planning to file a court challenge against the commission and to stop Florida from turning over "private voter information."

"We are actively involved in analyzing the Presidential Commission to challenge its legality and oppose any attempt by Florida officials to comply with the collection efforts on constitutional and privacy grounds," Kuehne said.

In the majority of states, officials have said they won't comply with all or part of the request, CNN reported. But so far, Florida's Secretary of State Ken Detzner hasn't made it clear how he will respond.

Detzner's spokeswoman Sarah Revell said Detzner is reviewing the request by Kris Kobach, chair of the commission. It would be surprising if Detzner didn't comply at least partially with Kobach's request because Detzner is an appointee of Republican Gov. Rick Scott, a Trump ally.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle, who is considering a bid for governor or attorney general in 2018, spoke at the first meeting of the lawyers Council June 26 at Seasons 52 restaurant in Coral Gables. Both offices are currently held by Republicans who are term limited.

In June, the Miami-Dade Democratic Party passed a resolution calling for Fernández Rundle to resign related to how she handled the case of Darren Rainey, a mentally ill inmate who died five years ago at the Dade Correctional Institution. Rainey was locked in a prison shower for 90 minutes.Fernández Rundle has defended her decision not to charge guards.

Kuehne said the council won't make endorsements in races. 

"This is an active lawyers' group organized to protect voter eligibility and election compliance," he said.

However the council gave Fernández Rundle  a platform to talk about two hot topics for Democratic voters: restoration of civil rights for nonviolent felons and protecting Dreamers, illegal immigrants who came to the United States as children.

She told the group of 75 lawyers that "as officers of the Court you have a have a special obligation to protect people's Constitutional voting rights," according to a press release from the council.

She told Democrats that "you have an additional obligation to protect the rights of such groups as the 'Dreamers,' children brought to the United States by their parents who may not enjoy legal status, and who have been threatened by the Trump administration after being protected under the Obama administration."

Miami Herald file photo of voters at the Coral Gables library during March 2016 primary.