Election Law Live

PILF Rejects Partisan Gerrymandering Claims Before SCOTUS

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – August 9, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today released a statement announcing the filing of an amicus brief with the American Civil Rights Union in support of Wisconsin’s redistricting maps currently challenged along partisan lines (Gill v. Whitford 16-1161).

“Allowing redistricting maps to be blocked for purely partisan reasons is a dangerous precedent that irrevocably invites federal authorities to intrude on states’ constitutional powers,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Partisan gerrymandering claims are yet another toehold for those seeking to weaken state powers.”

The brief challenges the federal district court’s finding that the 2011 redistricting map was unconstitutional.

“The lower court invited unlimited federal intrusion into a core Constitutional power granted to the States without Congress expressly permitting the intrusion,” the brief argues.

Below is a summary of observations made in opposition to the partisan gerrymandering claims made against Wisconsin.

Court precedents on the responsibilities of redistricting are clear. Except in cases where a redistricting plan targets a “racial minority for special discriminatory treatment”, states are constitutionally charged designing political jurisdiction. The brief echoes Chapman v. Meier: “We say once again that has been said on many occasions: reapportionment is primarily the duty and responsibility of the State through its legislature or other body, rather than of a federal court.”

Partisan gerrymandering claims upset the federalist balance of power. “The [lower court] based its admittedly novel conclusion not on a finding of discrimination abhorrent to deeply rooted constitutional principles but on the finding that the drafters of the plan intended ‘to entrench the Republican Party in power.’ Such a finding, built on a shaky foundation, at best, upsets the delicate balance of power,” the brief notes.

A copy of the brief, submitted on August 4, 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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PILF Backs Ohio’s Voter Roll Cleanup Rules Before SCOTUS

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – August 9, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today released a statement announcing the filing of an amicus brief on behalf of the American Civil Rights Union in support of Ohio’s policy for removing ineligible voters (Husted v. A. Phillip Randolph Institute 16-980).

“The State of Ohio is taking full advantage of its powers outlined in federal and state law to proactively manage voter rolls,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Federal law doesn’t prohibit common sense. After a registrant has failed to respond to notices and not vote in multiple elections, they may be cleaned from the rolls. The interest groups arguing otherwise are keeping voter rolls filled with dead and ineligible voters.

“A decision for Secretary of State Jon Husted keeps more tools and best practices on the table for Ohio and the more than a dozen states standing with them working to maintain voter records for an increasingly mobile electorate,” Adams added.

Below is a summary of observations made in support of Ohio’s voter list maintenance policies.

The U.S. Constitution grants Ohio the power to determine which ineligible voters are subject to cancellation. Limited Congressional actions and court precedent find that regulatory authority over federal elections remains exclusively with the states.

Ohio’s ‘supplemental’ voter list maintenance process is in keeping with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and the Help America Vote Act of 2002—finding otherwise violates basic principles of Federalism. Regardless of the standard used to rule, the appellate court is currently throttling Ohio’s maintenance procedures based on restrictions not found in the law. A state’s duty to set qualifications for voting is matched with the expectation that they are enforced. Further, Congress has strictly barred states from only using inactivity as a justification for voter removal. The Sixth Circuit incorrectly carries that further, blocking Ohio from its combined approach of considering inactivity and responsiveness to official inquiry.

Ohio does not remove voters simply for failure to vote—which otherwise would be violation of the NVRA and HAVA. The supplemental procedure requires that a voter failing to cast ballots for two consecutive years, does not respond to a confirmation notice within the allotted time, and continues to not vote for an additional four consecutive years be removed. Inactivity alone does not trigger an automatic cancellation.

A copy of the brief, submitted on August 7, 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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WATCH: Trial over Broward County’s Disputed Voting Lists Ends

Courtesy of the Sun-Sentinel and the A/V team with the American Civil Rights Union:

For more information, visit the ACRU v. Snipes case page.

Support more election integrity actions like in Broward County, here.

WSJ Op-Ed: Critics Try to Smear Trump’s Election Integrity Commission

PILF President J. Christian Adams and fellow PACEI Commissioner Hans Von Spakovsky write in The Wall Street Journal today:

It’s one thing to attack a proposed policy. It’s another thing to attack someone for simply asking a question. Yet that’s exactly what President Trump’s Advisory Commission on Election Integrity is facing from the New York Times , Washington Post, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, and others. Since the president signed an executive order creating the commission in May, these organizations have attacked members of the commission personally, including the authors of this article.

The reprehensible (and false) claim that we are engaged in voter suppression is a scare tactic, pure and simple. Ours is an advisory commission. It has no federal authority or power of any kind. It can’t tell the states, local governments or even the executive branch of the federal government what to do in the administration of elections.

Further, the commission’s request for publicly available information from the states is not some nefarious plot. This basic information about the voter registration process is necessary for the commission’s work. Many states have already given or sold the same information to multiple private vendors.

Read the full article, here.

Sun-Sentinel: Broward County Voter Roll Trial Ends

The following was published by the Sun-Sentinel:

Broward County is not doing enough to remove ineligible voters from its lists, it was claimed at a federal trial that wrapped Wednesday.

The argument came from the conservative American Civil Rights Union, which has been pursuing similar claims nationwide.

ACRU attorney J. Christian Adams in his closing argument said voter rolls had:

— 48 registered voters who were older than the oldest living American, including a few who topped 130 years old;

— 1,200 voters whose registrations were accepted even though they used invalid commercial addresses for their residences;

— 23 percent of voters identified as having died in 2011 who were still on the voting rolls in May 2012.

On top of that, Supervisor of Elections Brenda Snipes even admitted during testimony that non-citizens have registered and cast ballots in the county, Adams said.

Read the rest of the article, here.

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