PILF Files NVRA Lawsuits Against Chesterfield and Manassas Election Officials

(Indianapolis, IN) – November 1.  The Public Interest Legal Foundation has filed two separate federal lawsuits against local Virginia election officials for refusing to disclose election records showing foreigners improperly registered to vote in Virginia. Separate cases were filed against Larry Haake, the register in Chesterfield County, and Susan Reed, the registrar in the City of Manassas.

In August 2016, the Public Interest Legal Foundation asked to publically inspect and duplicate election records related to foreigners who registered to vote in Chesterfield County and Manassas. Similar requests were made to other counties throughout the Commonwealth, and other local election registrars complied with the request and provided the records to the Public Interest Legal Foundation. Among those counties who complied were Stafford, Prince William, Loudon, and the City of Falls Church. Chesterfield and Manassas refused to do so, and these lawsuits followed.

Under Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (or Motor Voter), the public has the right to physically inspect election records related to maintaining accurate voter rolls. If election officials do not provide the requested inspection, they may be sued in federal court and may be liable to pay attorney’s fees under the statute for failing to provide the records. These are the second and third cases the Foundation has filed seeking election records in Virginia.

Previous data compiled by the Foundation showed that over 1,000 registrants were removed from voter rolls for citizenship problems in the eight counties who complied with the Foundation’s request. None of the non-citizens removed appear to have been referred to law enforcement officials even though it is a felony when a foreigner registers to vote in Virginia.

“Transparency in the election process is essential,” said J. Christian Adams, President and General Counsel of the Public Interest Legal Foundation. “Federal law requires election records to be available to the public. Concealing the extent of non-citizen voting registration harms the integrity of the election process.” 

The Public Interest Legal Foundation is a 501(c)(3) public interest law firm dedicated to election integrity. PILF exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections.