PILF: Ohio’s Voter List Maintenance Program is ‘Common Sense’

PILF Briefs SCOTUS on Value of Ohio’s Best Practices

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – January 8, 2018: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) filed 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 is 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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Bexar County is Concealing Noncitizen Registrants

County Faces Federal Lawsuit for Refusing to Release Records

(SAN ANTONIO, TX.) – January 3, 2018: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) gave notice to the office of the Bexar County Elections Administrator that it could face a lawsuit if it fails to reveal records of noncitizens that were registered to vote.

In a letter recently submitted to Bexar County, officials were given final notice that they now face “federal litigation should [they] continue to deny access to the requested records” related to noncitizen voters on the rolls. Federal notice requirements provide the County time to fix their refusal to comply with federal inspection rights before a lawsuit is filed.

Bexar County declined the PILF’s original request to inspect records related to registrants who were later removed following official discovery or admitted non-citizenship on December 14. Attorneys for the Election Administrator explicitly told PILF that if representatives appeared for inspection at County offices, they would be denied access.

The December 20 letter states, “the Bexar County Elections Administrator is hereby notified that it now faces federal litigation should they continue to deny access to requested records in their possession.”

Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 allows individuals to request inspection or seek copies of records related to “records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters,” the PILF letters noted. 

“This is a terrible mistake on the part of Bexar County and an abrupt reversal on years of compliance with similar requests” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Other counties across Texas are complying with federal law. Either Bexar officials feel they are special or they have something embarrassing to hide. We will go to federal court if we must to obtain these public records.”

The Public Interest Legal Foundation has built a record case studies uncovering noncitizen voter registration and voting in a growing number of states.

A copy of the data request letter can be found, here.

A copy of PILF’s final notice letter 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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PILF Successfully Intervenes in Lawsuit Blocking Nevada Recall Efforts

PILF Helps Nevada Defend State Power to Run Own Elections

(LAS VEGAS, NV.) – December 21, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) successfully intervened in defense of Nevada’s recall procedures against a lawsuit from Hillary Clinton campaign attorney Marc Elias.

The United States District Court for the District of Nevada granted the PILF the right to help Nevada defend state recall laws in Luna v. Cegavske (2:17-cv-02666). The Court granted PILF leave to file its proposed answer to the plaintiffs’ complaint. The Court summarized its reasons for granting intervention thusly:

The Foundation seeks to challenge the Plaintiffs’ action under the Voting Rights Act on constitutional grounds that have not, as yet, been raised by the Defendants … [I]t has demonstrated an interest in the issues involved in the lawsuit sufficient to support permissive intervention. The Foundation also seeks to raise constitutional defenses to Plaintiffs’ claims that that have not been raised by the Defendants and which they may choose not to raise.

“States have the power to design their own election systems. Abusing the Voting Rights Act to attack state power is wrong and unconstitutional,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “The Voting Rights Act is not a law designed to help Democratic Party interests. PILF has been granted leave to make these in court. The true purpose of the Voting Rights Act was to stop racial discrimination, not to invalidate state laws that have nothing to do with race.”

The Foundation will make various arguments not otherwise made by the State of Nevada. An affirmative defense challenging the constitutionality of the foreign language provisions of the Voting Rights Act as applied is one of those arguments. Four primary defenses were introduced during initial intervention.

Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act is unconstitutional if applied to invalidate a recall election

If the Voting Rights Act were used to prohibit recall elections in Nevada and elsewhere, it would be an unconstitutional use of the Voting Rights Act. Plaintiffs’ claims that recall elections deny or abridge the right to vote for those within a “language minority” are far beyond what the Constitution would allow in this circumstance. “Speaking a language other than English is not the same, or even congruent to, inherent immutable characteristics such as race.”

Using disparate impact standards to block a recall would render a portion of the Voting Rights Act itself unconstitutional

Plaintiffs seek to use improper disparate impact statistical standards to invalidate state laws. Using mere statistical disparities to invalidate state laws would upset the Constitutional balance and constitute an unconstitutional application of the Voting Rights Act.

Plaintiffs offer inadequate facts ‘bearing no relevance’ to Voting Rights Act concerns

The brief states: “Most of the purported facts in the Amended Complaint are a jumble of talking points of various interest groups and academics long opposed to robust state control over elections and laws designed to promote election integrity. Taken together, they fail to state a plausible claim that the Defendants have violated Section 2.”

‘Language Minority’ Provisions of Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act are unconstitutional

Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act’s prohibition on discriminatory procedures or practices impacting “language minority” groups is unconstitutional on its face, given that it is inconsistent with the Fifteenth Amendment and “exceed[s] Congress’ authority to enforce the right to vote regardless of race.” 

The Motion to Intervene as Defendant and Proposed Answer by Defendant-Intervenor PILF filings can be found, here.

The order granting the PILF permissive intervention can be found, here.

Attorneys for the Public Interest Legal Foundation are J. Christian Adams and Joseph A. Vanderhulst. David O’Mara from the O’Mara Law Firm, PC serves as local counsel.

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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Pennsylvania Continues to Conceal Extent of Alien Registration

State on Notice that Lawsuit to Disclose Records is Imminent

(HARRISBURG, PA.) – December 21, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) gave notice to the Pennsylvania Department of State that it could face a lawsuit in 20 days if it fails to reveal noncitizen registered voter records.

In a letter submitted to the PaDOS yesterday, officials were given final warning that they now face “federal litigation should [they] continue to deny access to the requested records” related to noncitizen voters on the state’s rolls. Federal notice requirements dictate that the State has 20 days to address PILF’s concerns before a lawsuit can be filed.

Pennsylvania election officials declined the PILF’s original request to inspect records related to registrants who were later removed following official discovery or admitted non-citizenship. After submitting two letters and as many site visits to inspect the information, the PaDOS denied any access on December 20, 2017.

The Pennsylvania Department of State refused to provide access to the records as federal law requires. The State also admitted in no uncertain terms that it has no “program in place” to identify and remove ineligible noncitizen voters. This admission follows various news reports about the unspecified “hundreds” of similar cases officially cropping up across the state and disclosures that poorly-designed Motor Voter procedures exposed every noncitizen driver’s license customer to voter registration since the 1990s.

“Why are Pennsylvania election officials stonewalling both the Legislature and our request for the facts about their colossal mistake?” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Noncitizens were discovered on the rolls in increasing amounts; Secretary of State Pedro Cortes resigned in a hush; and now the Department of State is hiding records from the public about ineligible registrants. We will go to federal court to get the records they are hiding if they don’t provide them in twenty days.”

PILF President Adams warned the Pennsylvania Senate State Government Committee on December 12 that recent failures to disclose records related to noncitizens could invite a lawsuit:

“I can report to this Committee that we are now experiencing … stonewalling from the State, and if our requests for data are not met, we will sue State election officials in federal court to obtain the information. This Committee can ask for the same information we have asked for.”

The Public Interest Legal Foundation has built a record case studies uncovering noncitizen voter registration and voting in a growing number of states.

A copy of the data request letter can be found, here.

A copy of the Department of State’s rejection letter can be found, here.

A copy of PILF’s final notice letter 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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J. Christian Adams Discusses Voter Fraud on KBET Las Vegas

Audio courtesy KBET AM790 Las Vegas.

Pennsylvania Urged to Reveal Noncitizen Voters or Face Lawsuit

(HARRISBURG, PA.) – December 12, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today submitted testimony before the Pennsylvania Senate State Government Committee regarding the prevalence of noncitizens illegally registered to vote.

PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams warns the Committee that recent failures to disclose records related to noncitizens discovered within the voter registry can invite a lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Department of State.

“I can report to this Committee that we are now experiencing … stonewalling from the State, and if our requests for data are not met, we will sue State election officials in federal court to obtain the information,” the written testimony warns. “This Committee can ask for the same information we have asked for.”

Adams’ testimony details formal attempts by the PILF in October and December to secure inspection or copies of records detailing the full scope of noncitizens within the voter registry, including cases where individuals self-reported or were officially discovered when driver and voter databases were compared. In four attempts, the State of Pennsylvania has remained silent.

The submitted statement notes that records requests made pursuant to the National Voter Registration Act can result in litigation if the jurisdiction in question refuses inspection or copies files of interest to any party. The PILF brought similar suits against locales in Philadelphia and Virginia.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation has built a record case studies uncovering noncitizen voter registration and voting in a growing number of states.

A copy of Adams’ statement as submitted to the Senate State Government Committee can be accessed, here. Details for today’s hearing are officially published, 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 Offers Voter Registration Policy ‘Best Practices’ to State Legislators

(NASHVILLE, TN.) – December 6, 2017: Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams will address attendees at the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) summit this Thursday.

Adams will join other experts on December 7, 2017 to discuss election integrity policy reforms needed to address modern challenges.

“Elections can always be improved,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. With so many non-citizens, dead registrants, and people who no longer live where they are listed, improvements are needed. State legislators can fix the problems, and it is important that they know about the tools available. Keeping voter rolls clean is thankfully an easier task in 2017 than it was in 1997. PILF’s Best Practices Guide summarizes the most effective tools to get the job done, if only states were to utilize them.”

Best Practices argues that in the quarter century since President Bill Clinton signed his first law, the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), “chronic inaccuracy and [a] lack of integrity in the voter rolls” has become the “most significant problem facing America’s electoral process.” Adams will discuss how fossilized federal standards locked administrators into a system of voter roll maintenance via First Class Mail—giving little allowance for adoption of contemporary technologies.

The PILF’s Best Practices report consists of the following suggestions:

Access Best Practices for Achieving Integrity in Voter Registration, 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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Adams: The Next Major Battle over Voting Rights is Based on a Lie

PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams writes in The Hill today:

The next major battle for voting rights is built on a lie. Election officials and policymakers are being browbeaten by national activists and Twitter bots to dump an agreement between states to compare voter lists for identifying duplicates and potential fraud.

Imagine that: Abandon tools to keep our elections more honest. If the digital mob had its way, America’s voter rolls would be maintained according to obsolete standards from the 1980s. Voter rolls would remain an unmitigated mess. Some people must like it that way. As of now, 30 states have agreed to share voter records with each other to keep rolls updated when people move from state to state. The average American will relocate about 11 times in their life. When voters move, they rarely inform election officials. When they relocate and die, their records can live on for decades with their former officials none the wiser.

There is a well-funded and dishonest campaign launching against the important Crosscheck program. Activists successfully pushed Illinois lawmakers to reconsider their membership but later failed to inspire the state elections board to dump the system in a vote on Nov. 20. Although they likely considered the state to be an easy first domino to fall and they failed, they will not stop trying. One county clerk in Idaho tried to hype doubts over the program’s reliability even after his office admitted to cutting corners in handling the data. Crosscheck is slowly being admitted into the canon of grasping rationalizations for why Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton in 2016.

Read more, here.

J. Christian Adams: Matt Dunlap is Acting as a Saboteur on Trump Voter Fraud Commission

Partisan Organizations Are Protecting Bloated Voter Rolls

(INDIANAPOLIS, IN.) – November 22, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today commented on a partisan collective’s promise to thwart ongoing probes into bloated voter rolls in 24 states.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Brennan Center, and Demos announced an effort to offer “guidance” to jurisdictions contacted by the PILF earlier this year after a uniform review found bloated voter rolls in 248 counties across 24 states.

“It’s not surprising to see a once-respectable organization like the Lawyers’ Committee lash out in this way after years of dubious efforts to keep voter records outdated and unreliable,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “The LC’s leadership has a lawless record of selectively enforcing voting laws to meet partisan and racialist ends.”

Groups like the aforementioned regularly inject themselves into conversations regarding voter roll maintenance to minimize the importance of federal standards on the matter. Worse, they erroneously accuse election integrity groups of working to trigger mass removals when no such mechanism exists. At its heart, the Lawyers’ Committee and company are trying to resist lawful research to ensure that voters are being properly served by their officials. PILF has already identified counties admitting a failure to regularly clean rolls, some dating back to 2011.

“It seems like we’ve arrived to the point where asking election officials to do what the law requires makes PILF subversive—what a time we live in,” Adams said.

Across 24 states, 248 counties show more registered voters than adult residents, according to figures reflective of the 2016 Election.

“PILF has received a variety of information from counties thus far,” Adams explained. “Some are admitting budgetary constraints prevent updates; others promise reforms after staff shakeups. A cohort of counties unfortunately falls into defensive crouches and hide public records.

“The Lawyers’ Committee’s disapproval of these probes should cast suspicion on their own motives,” Adams adds.

The groups have agitated for years to handcuff state and local election officials against more proactively enforcing voter roll maintenance laws that keep pace with the increasingly migratory electorate. The groups currently support the dismantling of a 30-state cooperative designed to identify individuals registered in duplicate while one party, Demos, defended a Florida county for not reviewing public death notices like obituaries for maintenance lead purposes. While PILF has dedicated resources to offer best practices for modern voter roll maintenance, the other groups threaten legal action for even entertaining contemporary technologies and methods.

PILF President Adams offered a word of advice for jurisdictions currently engaged in voter roll probes.

“Despite any promises to the contrary, these groups have little experience studying and litigating voter roll maintenance matters. Courts have already ruled against the groups’ incorrect interpretation of the NVRA and counties need to know they are losing in places like Florida and North Carolina. Acting on any advice to cease current transmissions of data that the PILF requested will heighten the risk of litigation. PILF has a record of dislodging information in courts after officials bent to political pressure to conceal them.

“If your jurisdiction is not properly maintaining voter records, these groups cannot help you,” Adams added.

Lawyers’ Committee president Kristen Clarke presents a number of concerning characteristics in her views on voting rights.

PILF initiated voter roll probes in 24 states in September 2017 after reviewing 2016 voting and Census records. A total of 248 counties and additional municipalities received voter data request letters.

PILF has successfully litigated to institute voter roll cleanup efforts and preserve record transparency in North Carolina, Virginia, and Mississippi.

Voter list maintenance cases continue in Indiana and Texas. A first-of-its-kind trial completed over summer 2017 in Broward County, Florida.

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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