PILF Backs Virginia Mail Ballot Postmark Bill

(RICHMOND, VA.) — January 14, 2021: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today offered support for the recently filed HB 2115 in the Virginia House of Delegates—a bill setting clear requirements on postmarks for absentee ballots.

The bill, filed by Delegate Margaret B. Ransone (HD-99, Kinsale), would require that absentee ballots received after the close of polls (but within the legally allowed Election Day+3 window) carry a legible postmark noting that it was submitted prior to the Election Day deadline.

The bill defines a postmark as: “an official United States Postal Service imprint indicating the date of mailing or any other official indicia of the United States Postal Service used to identify the date of mailing.”

“Virginia must fix the mistakes made in 2020. PILF had to go to court to enforce state law when the Attorney General refused to follow the law,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Americans want an election system that follows the rules.

Track the progress of HB 2115 here.

In October 2020, PILF filed, on behalf of Thomas Reed, a local electoral board member, a lawsuit against the Virginia Department of Elections and the State Board seeking an injunction against administrative guidance that would accept absentee ballots received within three days after Election Day despite missing or illegible postmarks. Shortly thereafter, an injunction was granted.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation won the only injunction against a state in 2020 in stopping the acceptance of late ballots without postmarks. PILF is leading the nation in enforcing election integrity laws and the National Voter Registration Act, having brought cases in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maryland, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Maine and filed amicus briefs in litigation across the nation.

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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PILF Commends Texas Ballot Harvesting Arrest

(SAN ANTONIO, TX.) — January 13, 2021: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) applauds Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton and his office’s efforts on the arrest of San Antonio-based alleged mail ballot harvester Rachel Rodriguez.

“Today’s announcement marks another example of how Texas is leading the nation in effective investigations into ballot harvesting,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Texas shows how election officials, law enforcement, and the concerned public can collaborate to identify alleged election fraud schemes.

The Office of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton today announced the arrest of alleged ballot harvester Rachel Rodriguez for “election fraud, illegal voting, unlawfully assisting people voting by mail, and unlawfully possessing an official ballot.” The AG noted that each criminal charge is a felony under Texas law and could yield a 20-year total prison sentence.

Texas Attorney General image

General Paxton’s office credits Project Veritas for initially capturing Rodriguez’s purportedly candid statements about her alleged actions on hidden camera footage.

Paxton noted in an official statement Wednesday:

“Many continue to claim that there’s no such thing as election fraud. We’ve always known that such a claim is false and misleading, and today we have additional hard evidence. This is a victory for election integrity and a strong signal that anyone who attempts to defraud the people of Texas, deprive them of their vote, or undermine the integrity of elections will be brought to justice. The shocking and blatantly illegal action documented by Project Veritas demonstrates a form of election fraud my office continually investigates and prosecutes. I am fiercely committed to ensuring the voting process is secure and fair throughout the state, and my office is prepared to assist any Texas county in combating this insidious, un-American form of fraud.”

Read more about the Texas Attorney General’s investigations into election and voting fraud, here.

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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SCOTUS Will Hear Donor Privacy Protection Case

PILF Brief: 12 Times Donors Were Targeted for Harassment or Worse

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – January 11, 2021: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) applauds the U.S. Supreme Court for taking an important case involving California’s donor disclosure laws. The Foundation previously filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation’s petition. PILF will file a brief on the merits in the near future.

Donor anonymity is a bedrock American value and its protection is timelier than ever,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “If a season of political payback is indeed upon us, California’s donor disclosure requirement is an ideal weapon for those who feel the need to build target lists or ‘cleanse’ the nation of ideological viewpoints differing from their own. PILF’s prior brief outlines a staggering record of donor harassment and attacks that could seem quaint in the present day. We look forward to further briefing the Court.”

PILF’s brief urging the Court to take the case cited 12 examples where donor disclosure laws or efforts were leveraged to fuel personal attacks against otherwise private individuals – even in some cases where privacy protections were officially violated to achieve the end result. Supporters of both charitable and political ventures have risked threats of violence (including their minor children), commercial boycotts, and personal ruin.

Texas Public Policy Foundation – According to the group, in 2012, an unredacted IRS Form 990 Schedule B was officially leaked and entered circulation among various news outlets, despite it being confidential under federal law.

National Organization for Marriage – In March 2012, the organization learned its unredacted 2008 Schedule B was posted on an opposing group’s public website. The IRS later admitted to “improperly” releasing the document to a private individual contrary to federal law.

The IRS Targeting Scandal – Conservative groups targeted by the IRS during their application process were subjected to unnecessary questions including for names of donors.

Friends of Abe – Politically-conservative Hollywood figures seeking fellowship in an anonymous fashion faced a demand from the IRS to effectively reveal the member roster.

LULAC v. PILF – During discovery for a now-settled lawsuit, the progressive group committed extensive resources and attention to understating this Foundation’s internal affairs and information related to the broader conservative movement. The federal court eventually indicated that the probes were irrelevant to the case.

Chick-fil-A – Agitation against America’s most profitable fast food chain’s charitable contributions and spiritual modus operandi is as notorious as their chicken sandwich. Some municipalities, like San Antonio, Texas, officially banned the franchise from operating in spaces like airports.

Competitive Enterprise Institute/U.S. Virgin Islands – In April 2016, the CEI was subpoenaed by USVI Attorney General Claude Walker for a decade’s-worth of internal records, including donor information. The demand was eventually withdrawn.

California’s Prop 8 – Opponents of Prop 8 utilized public disclosures of supporters’ information to compile online maps detailing private homes and places of business.

Will & Grace – Cast members for the NBC comedy took to Twitter in August 2019 and demanded that lists of attendees to a President Donald Trump fundraiser be revealed due to the public’s “right to know” their identities.

Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX) – Shortly after a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, the congressman published a list of San Antonio-area donors of the Trump re-election campaign, saying they “fuel” hatred toward Hispanics, hinting to a shared causality with the tragic event.

Michigan Chamber of Commerce – A local organization executed an ad campaign featuring members of the MCC’s executive board, accusing them of running a “dark money” effort to prevent redistricting reform. Social media promoters and commenters opined about the need for a guillotine, firing squads, and the general sense how violence “can be used for good.”

SoulCycle – After a company investor hosted a fundraiser for President Trump, a boycott effort substantially drove down attendance to training sessions.

California law requires any IRS-designated 501(c)(3) charitable organization wishing to solicit donations in the state to annually file IRS Form 990s with unredacted Schedule Bs. These files list every donor giving at least $5,000 a year to the group in question. Petitioner AFP Foundation has refused to disclose the documents since 2001.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation also refuses to disclose its Schedule Bs—preventing any targeted fundraising in California.

The Foundation’s brief, filed in conjunction with the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence, Foundation for Michigan Freedom, and Texas Public Policy Foundation urged the Supreme Court to grant a writ of certiorari from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals as requested by the Americans for Prosperity Foundation. On January 8, 2021, the Court granted the petition.

A copy of the previous brief may be read, here. New brief(s) are forthcoming. The full docket is accessible here.

Kaylan L. Phillips and J. Christian Adams serve as attorneys of record for PILF in this matter.

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.

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, the Foundation seeks to protect the right to vote and preserve the Constitutional framework of American elections.

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PILF Statement on U.S. Capitol Riot

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) — January 6, 2021: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) condemns the riots occurring at the U.S. Capitol and potentially others.

“All violence and trespassing at the U.S. Capitol must cease and law enforcement authority should use all appropriate means to quell the lawlessness. Rioters demanding ‘election integrity’ have in some cases been misled by individuals who know very little about election administration and have made other outlandish claims such as claiming that Mike Pence is a child molester. The lawless engage in the tactics we witnessed today. What separates chaos from domestic tranquility is the adherence to the rule of law. — PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams

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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Adams to Laura Ingraham: Congress Could Turn 2020 Election Changes into Bad Law

PILF President and General Counsel joined Laura Ingraham to discuss why Washington is behind the curve on key election integrity issues.

PILF to Georgia House Committee: 8 Things To-Do

PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams testified before the Georgia House of Representatives Committee on Governmental Affairs on December 10, 2020.

https://player.vimeo.com/video/489906180

J. Christian Adams Georgia Post Election Testimony from Public Interest Legal on Vimeo.

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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AZ Lawsuit: Maricopa County’s Sharpies Denied Voting Rights

Voters Seek Right to Cure, Observe Their Ballots Being Counted

(PHOENIX, AZ.) – November 4, 2020: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), on behalf of client Laurie Aguilera and Does I-X, filed a lawsuit against the Maricopa County Recorder and the Board of Supervisors seeking a court order to vindicate their voting rights. The lawsuit asks that all ballots left uncured or denied due to the required use of Sharpies be identified and corrected. The suit also seeks observation rights during the cure process (Aguilera and Does I-X v. Fontes).  

Plaintiff Laurie Aguilera was issued a Sharpie to mark up her ballot on Election Day in Maricopa County, Arizona, despite established state procedures guiding that felt tip writing utensils not be used. Ms. Aguilera became alarmed when she noticed ink bleeding to the other side of her ballot. When instructed to feed her ballot through the counting machine, the ballot failed to be accepted and was eventually cancelled by the attending poll worker. Ms. Aguilera’s request for a replacement ballot was denied.

“These voters were denied the right to vote. Arizona election officials allegedly were part of the problem, and denial of the right to vote should not occur because of failures in the process of casting a ballot,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “We are asking that all ballots that were uncured or denied be identified and allowed to be cured.”

The plaintiffs seek the following from the Superior Court for the State of Arizona, Maricopa County:

–All ballots left uncured or denied due to Defendants’ supplied Sharpies be identified and allowed to be cured.

–The Court permits members of the public who were given felt tip marking devices to be present to observe the handling and adjudication of their ballots.

–A Court finding that Defendants deprived voters of their right to have their votes read and tabulated with perfect accuracy by an automatic system, or, that Defendants acted contrary to Arizona law.

Read the full brief here.

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 litigation continues in the Superior Court of Arizona – Maricopa County. The case number is CV2020-014083. Counsel for the Public Interest Legal Foundation is Sue Becker. Alexander Kolodin 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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Critical Election Deadlines for the Week

PILF Experts Available for Press Inquiries

(INDIANAPOLIS, IN.) – November 2, 2020: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today offers a quick guide for critical deadlines as Election Day approaches and guidance on how to reach experts in the field for media inquiries.

States with Extended Deadlines for Receipt of Absentee Ballots or UOCAVA Ballots

StatePostmark / DateReturn DateUOCAVA
Alabama11/0211/0311/10
Alaska11/0311/1311/18
ArkansasNA11/0311/13
California11/0311/2011/20
ColoradoNA11/0311/12
FloridaNA11/0311/13
Georgia11/0311/0611/06
Illinois11/0311/1711/17
IndianaNA11/0311/13
Iowa11/0211/0911/09
Kansas11/0311/0611/03
Kentucky11/0311/0611/03
Maryland11/0311/1311/13
Massachusetts11/0311/0611/13
Mississippi11/0311/1011/10
Nevada11/0311/1011/10
New Jersey11/0311/0911/03
New York11/0311/1011/16
North Carolina11/0311/1211/12
Ohio11/0211/0311/13
Pennsylvania11/0311/0611/10
Rhode Island11/0311/0311/10
Texas11/0311/0411/09
Utah11/0211/1611/16
Virginia11/0311/0611/06
West VirginiaNA11/0311/09
Washington DC11/0311/1311/13

To coordinate an interview with an expert listed below, send email to media [at] publicinterestlegal [dot] org or connect directly.

J. Christian Adams (PILF President and General Counsel) is an expert on the Voting Rights Act, federal civil rights laws, the Help America Vote Act, UOCAVA and the National Voter Registration Act. He also serves on the United States Commission on Civil Rights, a federal government commission.

Cleta D. Mitchell (PILF Chairperson of the Board) is a partner and political law attorney in the Washington, D.C. office of Foley & Lardner LLP, and a member of the firm’s Political Law Practice.

Dr. John C. Eastman (PILF Board Member) is the Henry Salvatori Professor of Law & Community Service at Chapman University Fowler School of Law, and also served as the School’s Dean from June 2007 to January 2010.

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.

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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PILF Deploying Legal Observers to Michigan for Election

Attorneys Will Follow DOJ Standards for Observation, Documentation, Escalation

(MICHIGAN) – October 30, 2020: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) will coordinate and dispatch legal observer teams to Michigan for the purpose of observing the election and documenting relevant information. The Foundation has curated an experienced network of election law attorneys and will be partnering with Michigan lawyer observers.

Legal observers on the team will include former U.S. Department of Justice personnel. PILF’s monitoring program will mirror coverage methods used by the Department of Justice attorneys in previous election cycles.

Public Interest Legal Foundation has partnered with a network of election law attorneys who will be monitoring the Michigan election,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “The attorney monitors will document a variety of information that can be used to assess whether the election was conducted in compliance with Michigan and federal law.”  

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.

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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