PA Lawsuit: 21K Deceased on Voter Rolls, Evidence of Voting Activity After Death

92% Died More than a Year Ago

(HARRISBURG, PA.) – November 5, 2020: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) filed an amended lawsuit against the Pennsylvania Department of State for failing to reasonably maintain voter registration records under federal and state law (Public Interest Legal Foundation v. Boockvar).

The Public Interest Legal Foundation recently found at least 21,000 apparently deceased registrants on Pennsylvania’s voter rolls in the final weeks of the 2020 Election cycle. The Foundation’s amended complaint, filed today, notes in part:

“[A]as of October 7, 2020, at least 9,212 registrants have been dead for at least five years, at least 1,990 registrants have been dead for at least ten years, and at least 197 registrants have been dead for at least twenty years … Pennsylvania still left the names of more than 21,000 dead individuals on the voter rolls less than a month before one of the most consequential general elections for federal officeholders in many years.”

The filing also raises voter list maintenance concerns regarding voting credits granted to registrants after federally listed dates of death and new voter registrations established after death.

“This case is about ensuring that those deceased registrants are not receiving ballots,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “This case isn’t complicated. For nearly a year, we’ve been offering specific data on deceased registrants to Pennsylvania officials for proper handling ahead of what was expected to be a tight outcome on Election Day. When you push mail voting, your voter list maintenance mistakes made years ago will come back to haunt in the form of unnecessary recipients and nagging questions about unreturned or outstanding ballots.

Highlighted Areas of Concern

— # of Apparently deceased registrants on Pennsylvania’s voter roll as of October 2020: 21,000

— 92% of apparently deceased registrants died before October 2019

— # of Registration established federally listed dates of death: 114

— # of Registrations showing voting credits after federally listed dates of death in 2016, 2018: 216

The Foundation seeks relief under Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which requires officials to make “reasonable efforts” to maintain voter lists and offers a private right to file a lawsuit if standards are not met.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation is leading the nation in enforcing election integrity laws and the National Voter Registration Act, having brought cases in North Carolina, Virginia Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maryland, Florida, Illinois, Mississippi, Texas, and Maine and filed amicus briefs in litigation across the nation.

The case was originally filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania. The case number is No. 1:20-cv-01905. The attorneys for the Public Interest Legal Foundation are Sue Becker, John Eastman, and Bradley J. Schlozman. 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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