PA Contradicts Own Claim of ‘No’ Noncitizen Voter Records

Filings Detail Conflicting Statements on Existence of Noncitizen Records

(HARRISBURG, PA.) – May 10, 2018: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) filed briefs this week highlighting contradictory claims made by the Pennsylvania Department of State (DOS) regarding the existence of noncitizen voter records (PILF v. Torres et. al. 1:18-cv-00463).

On May 2, 2018, Pennsylvania told the Court that it did not have a “removal program regarding non-citizens” and therefore did not have any documents to share according to the PILF’s original requests for related information. The claim followed a statement released five days before to select news organizations with contradictory evidence. The statement describes previous, ongoing, and future efforts to identify and remove potential noncitizens currently registered to vote throughout Pennsylvania. The statement and example letter described what more than 7,700 registrants would be receiving at the time to confirm their eligibility with respect to citizenship.

“The Pennsylvania Department of State is yet again trying to hide the ball on noncitizen voter registration,” PILF Communications Director Logan Churchwell said. “Telling the Court that ‘no documents’ exist five days after you quietly shell out metadata to an unknown number of journalists is a failure in transparent and accountable governing. These actions only serve to heighten apprehensions about system integrity days before a primary election.”

With new facts in hand, the PILF opted to further brief the Court on reasons why the Commonwealth’s request that the suit be dismissed should be denied. Below is a summary of observations made in the PILF most recent court brief.

The Commonwealth’s actions contradict any claim to not having records regarding noncitizen voter registration detection and cancellations. The PILF seeks complete perspective in voter registration maintenance activities performed by the DOS pursuant to federal law. A list of 7,700 voters selected for mailings is an example of data held by the DOS that is of interest to the PILF and the public. “The statement, and the records it describes, reveals the existence of certain records that the Secretary possesses which are responsive to the Foundation’s requests,” the brief notes.

The Commonwealth cannot now claim that it is without a “removal program regarding non-citizens.” The brief notes: “the statement plainly describes a methodical process for identification and removal of noncitizen registrants, a process that included an ‘intense data analysis … that yielded a responsible list of individuals for whom voter registration status required further confirmation.’”

A copy of the briefs and exhibits are available, here.

A copy of the case fact sheet can be found, here.

The case continues in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg Division. The case number is 1:18-cv-00463.

Attorneys for the Public Interest Legal Foundation are J. Christian Adams and Noel H. Johnson. Philadelphia-based Linda A. Kerns, Esq. from the Law Offices of Linda A. Kerns 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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