PILF Sues Harris County, TX for Data on Noncitizen Voters

Foundation Alleges Harris County Violated Motor Voter Law

(HOUSTON, TX.) – March 29, 2018: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) filed a lawsuit today against the Office of the Harris County Voter Registrar for failing to disclose noncitizen registered voter records as required under federal law (PILF v. Harris Bennett 4:18-cv-00981).

Harris County refused to allow the foundation to inspect or be furnished documents related to noncitizen registered voters either reporting their own unlawful registration or discovered thanks to officials efforts. The County’s actions constitute an apparent violation of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

“Harris County has previously admitted a problem with noncitizen registration and voting,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Election officials should be transparent, and in fact are required by federal law to be transparent. Our requests to inspect records will help educate lawmakers and the public alike on how noncitizens are gaining entry into the voting system; how long they remain; how they vote; and what we can do to fix the issue. The question is not if—but how many noncitizens are participating? Harris County cannot expect to get away with avoiding its federal transparency responsibilities.

On multiple occasions, noncitizen voter registration and voting has been documented in Harris County.

In a January letter submitted to Harris County, officials were given final notice that they faced “federal litigation should [they] continue to deny access to the requested records” related to noncitizen voters on the rolls.

Harris 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 January 11.

Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 allows individuals to request inspection or seek copies of “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.

For a detailed look at the fact pattern leading to today’s lawsuit, click here.

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

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

The complaint and exhibits filed as of today may be accessed at the PILF website, here.

The case was filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division. The case number is 4:18-cv-00981.

Attorneys for the Public Interest Legal Foundation are J. Christian Adams, Noel H. Johnson, and Joseph Vanderhulst. 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.