Harris County, TX Foreign Voter Record Lawsuit Ends
Posted on March 18th, 2020
Preferred Settlement Will Secure Release of All Requested Records
(HOUSTON, TX.) – March 18, 2020: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) reached a settlement with Harris County, Texas to disclose records of foreigners voting in Texas elections. The United States District Court entered a settlement order this week. (PILF v. Harris Bennett).
The federal district court in Houston, Texas, entered the settlement agreement between the Harris County Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar and the Foundation late Tuesday, March 17.
“Our election systems must be transparent. Foreigners are registering and voting in the United States. Election officials must be transparent and follow federal disclosure laws if we are ever to understand the extent of the problem. This settlement is the best possible outcome for clean elections in Texas,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “The Foundation will now be able to catalog and share with key leaders the systemic problems that allow foreigners onto the voter rolls. Research like this bolsters the interests of all coming into contact with the Motor Voter system—no matter where they were born.”
Settlement Terms Summary
–County will provide records showing cancellations from voter roll due to later confirmation of ineligibility.
–County will provide records where “notices of examination” were sent to registrants where eligibility was officially questioned.
–County will provide copies of voter registration applications containing blank or negative responses to citizenship eligibility questions.
–County will provide lists of registrants cancelled after disqualification from jury service for noncitizenship.
–County will provide all communication files between registrar’s office and law enforcement entities regarding ineligible registrants.
–All records held between January 1, 2013 to date are subject to the agreement.
The Foundation previously defeated Harris County’s motion to dismiss the case in March 2019.
The Foundation originally selected Harris County for study after local officials described the underlying problems spanning nearly two decades—most often in the context of lobbying for or against election reform bills in Austin or Washington.
The Foundation also defeated a case dismissal effort brought by the Pennsylvania Department of State in December 2019 for similar records.
Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 allows individuals to inspect “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 noted in its original complaint.
The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, number 4:18-cv-00981. Judge Andrew S. Hanen presided.
Attorneys for the Public Interest Legal Foundation were J. Christian Adams and Noel H. Johnson. Brenham-based Andy Taylor of Andy Taylor & Associates, P.C. 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.