Election Law Live

248 Counties Have More Registered Voters Than Live Adults

24 States Show Corrupted Voter Rolls

(INDIANAPOLIS, IN.) – September 25, 2017: 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.

A listing off all jurisdictions recently given notice under the NVRA can be found, here.

A copy of an example notice letter sent may be reviewed, 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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Report: Noncitizens Discovered in New Jersey Voter Registration System

76 Percent Admitted Alien Status Up Front

(ALEXANDRIA, VA.) – September 11, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today released Garden State Gotcha: How Opponents of Citizenship Verification for Voting Are Putting New Jersey’s Noncitizens at Risk of Deportation.

After a six-month review of New Jersey county voter registration files, the Public Interest Legal Foundation found numerous enforcement flaws for the National Voter Registration Act (Motor Voter) that unnecessarily expose noncitizens to future naturalization challenges and even deportation without clearly-justified reforms.

  • 616 admitted and officially recorded noncitizens in 11 counties engaged on some level with the NJ voter registration system;
  • Nine percent of aliens self-reporting their status also cast ballots prior;
  • 76 percent of noncitizens found in the system admitted their immigration status at the outset;
  • 75 percent of noncitizens were invited to register while receiving driver’s licenses or in other government transactions like community college admissions or public schools; and
  • Six counties, including one “sanctuary county”, claimed to have never seen noncitizens registered or applying to vote.

“New Jersey offers eye-opening lessons,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “A limited inquiry found that hundreds of noncitizens are documented throughout voter records, typically because a bureaucrat offered them an application. Some were even asked after presenting a Green Card. That broken system is propped up by an honor code proven repeatedly to fail. Many illegally voted. Some claimed they didn’t know they were registered until an immigration agent called. All will likely face an inquiry if they decide to become Americans.” 

“It’s time to have a serious discussion about modernizing our Motor Voter law and determine how we can verify citizenship in the process,” Adams added. “Anyone who disagrees exposes Americans to vote dilution and helps write one-way tickets for deportees.”

In the absence of regular data-sharing arrangements between federal officials and the State, the ability of election officials to identify aliens on the voter rolls in real time is almost nonexistent. Voter registrars are stuck waiting for noncitizens to contact them, usually in a panic, admitting to registering despite their ineligibility. Such reactionary maintenance was typically due to pending naturalization applications.

“New Jersey’s only defense to alien registration is the hope that aliens who get on the voters rolls will self-report,” the new PILF study notes. “Without proactive verification mechanisms built into the voter registration application process, cascading negative consequences are sure to follow for eligible and ineligible voters alike.”

After reviewing thousands of pages of voter records, Motor Voter arises as a contributing factor for why so many alien residents are getting trapped in the voter registration system.

  • Years of official and third party pressure on state agencies to register more voters has apparently driven some offices to become overly aggressive in offering applications to those that do not qualify.
  • No uniform protections were apparent for noncitizens to be shielded from voter registration after they presented identification clearly documenting their ineligibility.
  • The current, two-year voter record retention cap can create difficulties for naturalization applicants required to show proof of previous activity.

Garden State Gotcha follows PILF’s previous work to quantify the number of voters cancelled for citizenship defects in Virginia. The Public Interest Legal Foundation found more than 5,500 cases.

Both New Jersey and Virginia are slated to perform statewide elections in November 2017.

Access to Garden State Gotcha: How Opponents of Citizenship Verification for Voting Are Putting New Jersey’s Noncitizens at Risk of Deportation has been made available, here.

Access to evidentiary exhibits referenced throughout can be found, 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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Garden State Gotcha: How Opponents of Citizenship Verification for Voting Are Putting New Jersey’s Noncitizens at Risk of Deportation

After a six-month review of New Jersey county voter registration files, the Public Interest Legal Foundation found numerous enforcement flaws for the National Voter Registration Act (Motor Voter) that unnecessarily expose noncitizens to future naturalization challenges and even deportation without clearly-justified reforms.

The full PDF report is available here.

Summary Findings:

  • 616 admitted and officially recorded noncitizens in 11 counties engaged on some level with the NJ voter registration system;
  • Nine percent of aliens self-reporting their status also cast ballots prior;
  • 76 percent of noncitizens found in the system admitted their immigration status at the outset;
  • 75 percent of noncitizens were invited to register while receiving driver’s licenses or in other government transactions like community college admissions or public schools; and
  • Six counties, including one “sanctuary county”, claimed to have never seen noncitizens registered or applying to vote.

“It’s time to have a serious discussion about modernizing our Motor Voter law and determine how we can verify citizenship in the process,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Anyone who disagrees exposes Americans to vote dilution and helps write one-way tickets for deportees.”

Our press release on the report is here.

Access to evidentiary exhibits referenced throughout can be found, here.

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J. Christian Adams: Why I’m Sticking with Trump’s Election Commission

PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams writes in The Hill today why he’s sticking with the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity:

You would think critics of the commission would relish the chance to prove once and for all the concerns about election integrity are overblown and that voter fraud is really a myth, as they assert. After all, if the commission comes up empty, their argument is strengthened, right?

That would be a rational approach.

Read the full article at The Hill.

PILF Statement on Texas Voter ID Ruling

(ALEXANDRIA, VA.) – August 23, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today responded to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas’ latest ruling on the photo voter identification law.

“The court has yet again proven all too willing to hand down rulings which beg to be overturned on appeal,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Texas’ voter identification law takes squarely into account the safety net system which the Fifth Circuit recommended be installed last year. The Public Interest Legal Foundation will offer amicus support for the law on appeal.”

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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