Election Law Live

Public Interest Legal Backs Texas Voter ID Upgrade

(ALEXANDRIA, VA.) – February 21, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today backed a bill to improve Texas’ photo voter identification law.

Senate Bill 5, authored by Senator Joan Huffman (R-Harris County), would make permanent the voter ID “safety net” allowing voters without proper ID to attest to the reason for their noncompliance and cast a regular ballot thereafter.

“Senate Bill 5 is a necessary step to improve and protect Texas’ voter ID law,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Making permanent the ‘safety net’ like the bill calls for will help those in genuine need and place strict penalties for those that wish to abuse it.”

Days before the bill was filed, various county election officers told the Associated Press that “hundreds” of voters misused the voter ID affidavit, admitted their refusal to follow existing law. Senate Bill 5 notes that a “false statement” on the form would be a third degree felony.

A copy of SB 5 can be accessed here.

Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is a 501(c)(3) public interest law firm dedicated to election integrity. The Foundation exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections. Drawing on numerous experts in the field, PILF seeks to protect the right to vote and preserve the Constitutional framework of American elections.

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Lawsuit to Clean Wake County, NC Voter Rolls Advances

(RALEIGH, NC.) – February 21, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today released a statement applauding the court’s decision to proceed with its client’s case against the Wake County Board of Elections to clean voter rolls (Voter Integrity Project NC v. Wake County BOE).

Senior U.S. District Judge W. Earl Britt ruled in favor of the plaintiff, Voter Integrity Project NC, denying motions to dismiss its case brought against the Wake County Board of Elections over allegations that voter rolls were not being properly maintained and disclosed on February 21.

“This is a welcome, but expected development in the case to clean Wake County’s voter rolls,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “No county should have more registered voters than eligible residents, especially to the tune of 105 percent registration. Wake County is leaving multiple tools on the table to better serve its voters – now even the court is beginning to show signs of agreement. PILF will continue to press for close examination of apparent breakdowns in maintenance procedures and transparency guidelines.”

Below is a summary of observations made by Judge Britt in his decision to deny dismissal of the case.

VIP-NC’s methodology for determining whether Wake County’s voter rolls had become bloated in violation of federal law is ‘reasonable’.

“Considering VIP-NC’s allegation that the number of registered voters in Wake County has exceeded, and continues to exceed, the number of eligible voters, which allegation is in turn supported by reliable data and WBOE’s failure to use available jury excuse information, a reasonable inference can be drawn that WCBOE is not making a reasonable effort to conduct a voter list maintenance program in accordance with the NVRA.”

Wake County cannot shift maintenance burdens to the State.

The court rejected the argument that legal action with respect to maintenance can only be directed at states, a key element of the defendants’ position to dismiss the suit.

A copy of the ruling, entered on February 21, 2017 has been made available, here.

Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is a 501(c)(3) public interest law firm dedicated to election integrity. The Foundation exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections. Drawing on numerous experts in the field, PILF seeks to protect the right to vote and preserve the Constitutional framework of American elections.

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DOc. 37 – Order Denying MTD by Public Interest Legal Foundation on Scribd

Breitbart Op-Ed: It’s Time for Only Citizens to Vote in Texas

Public Interest Legal Foundation President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams backed bills in the Texas Legislature that would require documentary proof of citizenship when registering to vote at Breitbart News today:

The voter fraud conviction of Texas resident and Mexican national Rosa Maria Ortega should make it clear we need citizenship verification in voter registration. Over and over, Austin considers bills that would keep ineligible voters from the ballot box—only to see them die quiet deaths in committee. That can’t happen anymore.

State Senator Van Taylor (R-Plano) and Representative Mike Schofield (R-Houston) have introduced companion bills that would require documentary proof of U.S. citizenship when a Texas resident decides to register to vote. Items like valid passports, birth certificates, and naturalization papers would be presented within a reasonable window of time for registration to be complete.

The Ortega case perfectly demonstrates the necessity of these bills. The voter registration process is one of the remaining aspects of elections that still rely on the honor system. Before she voted “five times between 2004 and 2014” as Attorney General Ken Paxton notes, there were multiple attempts at voter registration. The Texas registration form merely asks, “are you a United States citizen?”

Read more at Breitbart Texas.

Trump Wins Deportation Case Against Noncitizen Voter

(ALEXANDRIA, VA.) – February 13, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today applauded a U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals decision ruling that a noncitizen could be deported for illegally registering to vote and casting ballots.

Margarita Del Pilar Fitzpatrick is a Peruvian national who registered to vote at an Illinois DMV and cast ballots twice in 2006 for federal candidates. She appealed her deportation ruling to the 7th Circuit.

“This case demonstrates how difficult it is to pursue noncitizen voting crimes without verification measures in voter registration and a federal government that has expressed clear disinterest in combating the problem until now,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “The Trump Administration has the right and responsibility to study the true extent of illegal voting by ineligible persons. Hopefully, this case marks a new chapter for election integrity in the years ahead.”

A copy of the ruling can be accessed here.

Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is a 501(c)(3) public interest law firm dedicated to election integrity. The Foundation exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections. Drawing on numerous experts in the field, PILF seeks to protect the right to vote and preserve the Constitutional framework of American elections.

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Hill Op-Ed: No, We Don’t Need National Voting Standards

Public Interest Legal Foundation President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams rebutted calls for national voting standards in The Hill today:

How has the American constitutional system managed to survive 230 years despite the alleged scourge of voter confusion, long lines at polling places, and Russian hacking? Why do we still not have national voting standards? The answer is simple: Alexander Hamilton and James Madison knew what they were doing.

Professor Bradley Blakeman took to the pages of this publication declaring that “it makes sense that there be uniform standards in federal elections that insure all Americans are treated equally and fairly when exercising their most valued right as a citizen.” The last thing we need is Washington, D.C. issuing more standards.

Stepping outside of the academy, it makes no sense for Vermont and Hawaii be held to the same standards of selecting the number and locations of polling places they should provide — let alone how many voting machines each should have therein. It makes even less sense to adopt a uniform voting machine for all Americans, especially after the Dutch demonstrated that using a single system invited the undivided attention of hackers.

The Constitution gives states the power to run their own elections. The vast majority of proposals advanced by Prof. Blakeman are already state law of one form or another with understandable, state-specific variations. The professor’s individual ideas are not the problem, but his belief that Washington, D.C. is the solution is wrong.

Read the full piece at The Hill.

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