Election Law Live

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.

J. Christian Adams’ Statement on Jeff Sessions’ Confirmation

(ALEXANDRIA, VA.) – February 8, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today released a statement applauding the U.S. Senate’s confirmation of Jeff Sessions to be the next U.S. Attorney General.

“Finally, the United States will again have an attorney general that stands for all of the law—not just what he agrees with,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “General Sessions has an immense task before him. He will inherit a Department filled with employees that have dedicated their careers to prioritizing ideological advancement over equal enforcement of law. Despite this, I am wholly confident that Jeff Sessions is the right man for the job.”

The Public Interest Legal Foundation penned a letter of support for General Sessions’ nomination, promoting his record of prosecuting election crimes in the 1980s. The letter to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary can be read, 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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Public Interest Legal Backs Virginia Bill Checking Citizenship in Voter Registration

(ALEXANDRIA, VA.) – February 7, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today released a letter of support for House Bill 1598 in the Virginia Legislature, requiring proof of citizenship during voter registration.

The letter of support was addressed to Senator Jill Holtzman Vogel (R-Winchester), chairwoman for the Committee on Privileges and Elections.

HB 1598 “requires persons applying to register to vote to provide proof of United States citizenship.” For those unable to comply, they will be registered to vote in federal elections only. The Public Interest Legal Foundation notes that this is a necessary measure to protect Virginia’s voter rolls from a documented trend of individuals casting ballots that are later removed from the rolls for reasons related to citizenship status.

“Virginia voters deserve better than an honor system that trusts first and only verifies after wrongdoing has apparently been committed – all while obscuring the public’s view into the process,” the letter notes.

The letter, submitted to the Committee on February 7, 2017, makes clear the when critics of the bill claim that noncitizen voting is a non-issue, they are not only wrong, but are abetted by jurisdictions that attempted to conceal contrary evidence from the public. In October 2017, the organization released a limited study of eight voting jurisdictions throughout the Old Dominion; finding more than 1,000 registered voters were removed for reasons related to citizenship status after the fact.

“In various cases, federal courts have ruled that states have the power to proactively prevent illegal behavior,” PILF Research Director Logan Churchwell said. “More than a thousand voter registrations and counting were quietly removed from the rolls. Virginia can do more to protect eligible voters’ ballots from being cancelled by illegal ones. HB 1598 helps in that regard.”

PILF announced on January 30 that it had successfully ended lawsuits in two other Virginia locales (Manassas and Chesterfield County) which provided the disclosure of additional voters that were removed for citizenship reasons.

The PILF letter makes note of Virginia’s recent, rocky history of securing elections from ineligible voters. Governor Terry McAuliffe vetoed a bill in August 2015 that would have required jury commissions to notify voter registrars when self-proclaimed noncitizens declined calls for duty. In 2016, the Commonwealth also considered making portions of the voter registration form, like the selection of citizenship status, optional.

A copy of the letter to the Virginia Senate Committee on Privileges and Elections 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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2017.2.7 VA HB 1598 letter by Public Interest Legal Foundation on Scribd

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