The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today announced that it placed 248 counties on notice for holding more registered voters than adult residents in their respective jurisdictions. Officials in 24 states now risk lawsuits if they do not disclose satisfactory data demonstrating effective voter roll maintenance efforts before and after the 2016 Election.
“During the 2016 Election, 24 states had bloated voter rolls,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Voter fraud begins with corrupted voter rolls. Our nation’s voter rolls have records that cannot be distinguished between living or dead; citizen or alien; resident or relocated. We hear about possible cyber-attacks, but we aren’t doing enough to fix voter rolls that are certainly corrupt. The voter rolls are so bad in some states that election officials would have a hard time telling the difference between sabotage and negligence.”
Letters mailed to the counties and locales in question note that it appears they are violating the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) because they are not properly maintaining the voter rolls. The NVRA (also known as Motor Voter) requires state and local election officials to properly maintain voter rolls and ensure that only eligible voters are registered. Holding more registrants than living adults indicates that election officials have failed to properly maintain voter rolls.
The Public Interest Legal Foundation has a distinguished record of bringing litigation against counties and locales with bloated voter rolls—yielding settlements and consent decrees that, if followed properly, will put jurisdictions on a path to more realistic voter registration rates. PILF has been involved in bringing nine separate lawsuits in the last two years to enforce list maintenance provisions of the NVRA, including in Texas, Mississippi, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania. PILF recently completed the first trial in the history of the NVRA to enforce list maintenance obligations. The case was brought on behalf of the American Civil Rights Union against Broward County, Florida.
States with counties that received a notice letter are (# of counties): Kentucky (41), Michigan (32), Iowa (31), Illinois (22), Mississippi (19), Colorado (17), Texas (12), Alabama (12), South Dakota (12), Nebraska (9), Georgia (6), New York (6), West Virginia (6), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (5), California (2), Louisiana (2), Montana (2), Virginia (2), Arizona (1), Florida (1), Missouri (1), Oklahoma (1), and Washington State (1).
Kentucky’s surpassing Michigan as the most bloated state is particularly concerning giving the Secretary of State’s belligerent, public refusals to share voter data with the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity, despite the State’s offering of the same information here.
“Federal law requires election officials to conduct a reasonable effort to maintain voter registration lists free of dead voters, ineligible voters, and voters who have moved away,” the notice letters state. “Based on our comparison of publicly available information published by the U.S. Census Bureau and the federal Election Assistance Commission, it appears that your jurisdiction is failing to comply with these federal law requirements.”
The notices seek a variety of documents to clearly discern which jurisdictions are failing to perform basic voter list maintenance duties. Some records sought concern: noncitizen voters; numbers of dead, duplicate, relocated, and felon removals; evidence of use for databases which better identify relocated or alien registrants; and third-party communications about voter rolls, among others.
If a local official fails to respond to PILF’s letter or declines to allow inspection of election records, they risk a federal lawsuit.