PILF Probes Noncitizen Voting in Illinois

(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) – January 23, 2020. The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) initiated a private investigative effort into recent official disclosures that Illinois’ automatic voter registration system reportedly invited noncitizen DMV customers onto the voter rolls. More than a dozen are reported to have voted in the 2018 Midterms as a result.

“We’ve warned and proven for years that Motor Voter was pushing noncitizens onto voter rolls,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Then Illinois and other states made it worse by automating the process. The Foundation has sent a demand letter under public inspection rights of the National Voter Registration Act to Illinois for data regarding the alien voting problem they have and impacts on elections there— like a sheriff’s race decided by a single ballot.”

Early local news reports based on statements from the Illinois State Board of Elections indicate that an alleged programming glitch in its new automatic voter registration system for DMV customers placed 574 noncitizens into the statewide registry prior to the 2018 General Election. Of those, at least 19 cast a ballot. The hundreds of noncitizens were reportedly self-identified, meaning more could remain masked as citizens within the voter roll to date.

The Foundation filed a records inspection request with the ISBE to address at least four inquiries:

  • Were all of the self-reported 574 noncitizens actually registered via DMV transactions?
  • Is Illinois undertaking any official efforts to proactively identify remaining registered noncitizens?
  • Were noncitizens self-reporting in Illinois prior to the 574 cases?
  • Did any self-reported noncitizens vote in elections potentially decided by their participation?

The Foundation intends to distribute a catalog of findings to better educate the general public on official election fraud risks ahead of the 2020 Elections.

Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) empowers any party to physically inspect local election records related to voter list maintenance efforts.

A copy of the inspection request letter may be accessed, here.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation is the nation’s most active public interest law firm dedicated to enforcing the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and ensuring the integrity of American elections—bringing more than a dozen cases to enforce voter list maintenance obligations and inspection rights under federal law in federal courts across the nation in addition to serving as amicus in more than a dozen voting law cases. The Foundation also works with election officials and policymakers to improve the integrity of elections.

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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Lawsuit: Maryland Hides Voter Data amid Cummings Replacement Election

(BALTIMORE, MD.) – December 16, 2019: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) filed a lawsuit today against the Maryland State Board of Elections (MSBOE) for failing to disclose voter registration records under federal law (Public Interest Legal Foundation v. Linda Lamone).

“Maryland is refusing to follow federal election law and is denying access to public election records ahead of the  7th Congressional District Special Election and the 2020 contests,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Maryland should choose transparency over concealing list maintenance records.

The initial complaint filed today, December 16, explains the Foundation initially requested copies of Maryland’s statewide voter file and select voting histories on November 13, pursuant to the application procedure set forth by the MSBOE. The State notified PILF two days later that its application was denied because the organization was not local. This reason was given despite an August 2019 court ruling against the MSBOE, finding that federal inspection rights over such data supersede state rules preventing outside access.

The Foundation seeks relief under Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, which requires officials to make voter list maintenance documents like the voter roll itself available for inspection to the general public. The law also offers a private right to file a lawsuit if denied.

In the interest of a speedy resolution ahead of the CD-7 special contests in Spring 2020, the Foundation is also filing for a motion for summary judgment.

The Foundation recently sued the City of Detroit, Michigan, for failing to maintain its voter list from dead and duplicate registrants on December 10. Both lawsuits are intended to help ensure the best voter roll data quality ahead of the 2020 Presidential Election.

The new case was filed in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland. The case number is 1:19-cv-03564. The attorney for the Public Interest Legal Foundation is Noel H. Johnson. Baltimore-based Glenn E. Bushel and Richard L. Costella of Tydings & Rosenberg LLP serve 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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Federal Court: PILF Effort to See PA Noncitizen Election Records Can Proceed

Court Rejects Limiting Inspection to Dead, Relocated Registrants

(HARRISBURG, PA.) – December 13, 2019: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today hailed a federal court decision regarding its effort to inspect records of noncitizens removed from Pennsylvania’s voter roll (Public Interest Legal Foundation v. Pennsylvania).

“We are a major step closer to understanding how badly Pennsylvania bungled voter registration by allowing noncitizens to register to vote.,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Election officials should be transparent if they want Pennsylvanians to have confidence in elections. Hiding documents about alien registration is bad policy and must end.”

“Pennsylvania wanted our lawsuit to go away so they could keep records concealed. It isn’t going away, and the records should be disclosed to the public about how badly government officials screwed up our election system.”

This litigation commenced in February 2018. Prior case filings can be found here. A copy of today’s memorandum is available 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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Lawsuit: Detroit Isn’t Properly Cleaning Voter Rolls

City Won’t Clean Dead, Duplicate Registrations from Roll

(DETROIT, MI.) – December 11, 2019: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) filed a lawsuit today against the City of Detroit for failing to reasonably maintain voter registration records under federal and Michigan law (Public Interest Legal Foundation v. Detroit).

“The City of Detroit is failing to perform some of the most basic functions owed to its citizenry,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “The city government’s nonchalant attitude toward addressing evidence of dead and duplicate registrations exposes yet another vulnerability in our voting systems as our nation works to improve election security before November 2020. Making a federal case out of this was necessary, and I hope we can achieve a resolution before the polls open.

Detroit Quick Facts

–Voter Registration Rate per 2016 Citizen Voting-Age Population: 106%

— # of Dead Registrants Aged 85+: 2,503

— # of Registrations flagged for duplicate, triplicate concerns: 4,788

— # of Registrations Missing Actual Dates of Registration: 16,465

The initial complaint filed on December 10 explains the Foundation has studied the City’s voter list maintenance efforts since 2017 by a variety of means. Earlier this year, PILF acquired the statewide qualified voter file from the Michigan Secretary of State for the purpose of comparing registration lists against federal death records. The Foundation ultimately sampled all active registrants whose respective ages were 85 years or older, finding more than 2,500 within the age range who were listed in the Social Security Death Index with corresponding death records and/or obituaries.

The Foundation also studied and catalogued examples of single registrants who managed to become registered to vote two and even three times with matching or substantially similar names and other biographical information within the same addresses. PILF flagged a grand total of 4,788 registration files for duplicate and triplicate concerns. Among them, examples of married/maiden name conflicts, simple typographical errors, and conflicting gender designations were trending concerns.

The Foundation also flagged impossibly old and disqualifying young date of birth information held within the voter file. One registrant is stated as being born in “1823,” well before Michigan was annexed into the Union. Another 16,400 registrants were flagged due to the fact that officials did not demonstrate when they actually became registered to vote.

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 new case was filed in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. The case number is 2:19-cv-13638. The attorney for the Public Interest Legal Foundation is Kaylan L. Phillips. Robert L. Avers of DickinsonWright PLLC 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. ###

REPORT: Snowbirds from 14 States Voted in Palm Beach County Elections in 2018, 2016

Year-Out Review Finds Vulnerabilities in Election Systems

(WEST PALM BEACH, FL.) – November 4, 2019: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today released Calm Before the Storm: Are Palm Beach County’s Elections Protected Against Emerging Threats?, a new report detailing a variety of vulnerabilities and data findings within the overall Palm Beach County voter registration system.

Prior to the public release of its latest report, PILF shared its detailed findings with current Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Wendy S. Link (PBSOE). Supervisor Link’s office committed to reviewing findings and taking necessary corrective actions going forward, while also sharing other matters beyond her immediate control with the Florida Secretary of State. Essentially all findings worthy of official action were created during now-removed Supervisor Susan Bucher’s term of office, or a predecessor.

“We are one year out from the 2020 General and this report is a stark reminder that you can’t have election ‘security’ without integrity first,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said.“Palm Beach County serves as an example of the types of vulnerabilities found within Florida’s voting system that could be leveraged by an outside saboteur. Our research suggests these problems are fixable well before the presidential election.

I want to particularly commend Supervisor Link’s office for not only providing necessary data during our research, but also keeping an open door and accepting our findings,” Adams added.

PILF discovered a variety of apparent flaws and procedural errors ranging from snowbird double voting, duplicate voter registration, non-citizen voter participation, illegal addresses, and even deceased voting.

Summary of Findings

Interstate Duplicate Registrations (NY, PA, RI) – 20,479

Interstate Double Voting in 2016 and/or 2018 – 225

Deceased Registrants – 2,203

Dead Voters – 139

Individuals Registered Twice in Palm Beach County – 413

Admitted Noncitizens Previously Registered – 68

Improper Uses of Non-Residential Addresses — 68

Calm Before the Storm follows reports specifically focused on apparent noncitizen voter participation in Michigan, “sanctuary” cities, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Virginia.

Access to Calm Before the Storm: Are Palm Beach County’s Elections Protected Against Emerging Threats? is available, 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 Brief: The Left Wants to Liquidate Opposing Donors

12 Times Donors Were Targeted for Harassment or Worse

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – October 1, 2019: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the Americans for Prosperity Foundation’s request to be heard regarding California’s donor disclosure laws.

In the brief, the Foundation cites 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.

Donor anonymity is a bedrock American value.  Private associations deserve to have their donors remain private,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “This tradition led to the creation of civil society institutions that worked for the betterment of the country. Hopefully, the Court will find a way to uphold that tradition. This case is one way.”

The brief outlines 12 examples.

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 media 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 their 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 fundraising and donor relations efforts. 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 the quality of their chicken sandwich. Some municipalities, like San Antonio, Texas, officially banned the franchise from operating in local government spaces.

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 the recent 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 to 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 the state.

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

A copy of the brief may be read, here.

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

The Public Interest Legal Foundation is the nation’s most active public interest law firm dedicated to enforcing the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and ensuring the integrity of American elections – bringing more than a dozen cases to enforce voter list maintenance obligations and inspection rights under federal law in federal courts across the nation in addition to serving as amicus in more than a dozen voting law cases. The Foundation also works with election officials and policymakers to improve the integrity of elections.

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. ###

PILF Probes Alleged Election Fraud in Detroit Metro

(INDIANAPOLIS, IN) – September 30, 2019. The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) initiated a private investigative effort into and around allegations of official election fraud reportedly perpetrated by Southfield City Clerk Sherikia L. Hawkins during the Michigan’s November 2018 General Election.

“It is unacceptable in this political environment for an election official to allegedly attempt to alter or invalidate absentee ballots for any reason,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “It is equally troubling to see Michigan officials downplay the matter. Michiganders and the larger American electorate deserve another set of eyes to help explain—in plain language—the course of events, motivations, and trends as to why these particular 193 absentee voters were allegedly targeted by Hawkins for disenfranchisement. The inner workings of our elections are typically a mystery to the public even in the best of times. This demands complete transparency.”

Upon reviewing the Michigan felony complaint records regarding Southfield Clerk Sherikia L. Hawkins, the Foundation opted to utilize several federal and state open records laws tailored to election administration and absentee balloting files.

Documents of particular interest relate to lists of all registered voters in Southfield who attempted to vote absentee for the 2018 midterm elections, in addition to detailed records exhibiting which voters were impacted by Clerk Hawkins alleged actions. Other records sought can help confirm that all eligible and properly submitted ballots were counted according to Michigan law.

PILF has also asked to inspect records held by the Elections Division in Oakland County, Michigan, the office that discovered the alleged alteration of voting records.

The Foundation intends to distribute a catalog of findings to better educate the general public on official election fraud risks ahead of the 2020 Elections—particularly in the area of absentee balloting, which has seen an increase in popularity with voters and fraudsters, alike.

Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) empowers any party to physically inspect local election records related to voter list maintenance efforts. Michigan law grants similar access rights for voter registration records and records related to the application, mailing, return, and official handling for each absentee ballot in a given election.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation is building a record of targeted research efforts that focus on particular elections and jurisdictions. In April 2019, the Foundation filed state and federal law enforcement complaints regarding apparent double voting efforts in Florida and New York. In October 2018, PILF helped trigger a Texas Attorney General investigation referral into apparently altered voter registration applications mailed to non-U.S. citizens in the Rio Grande Valley.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation is the nation’s most active public interest law firm dedicated to enforcing the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and ensuring the integrity of American elections—bringing more than a dozen cases to enforce voter list maintenance obligations and inspection rights under federal law in federal courts across the nation in addition to serving as amicus in more than a dozen voting law cases. The Foundation also works with election officials and policymakers to improve the integrity of elections.

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. ###

PILF to Congress: Fix Motor Voter

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – September 9, 2019: Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams will testify before the U.S. House Judiciary Committee regarding evidence of current and ongoing voting discrimination this Tuesday, September 10.

In advance of his prepared testimony, Adams stated the following:

It has never been easier to vote in the United States than now. In some cases, voter access has broadened to the point that it lacks sufficient safeguards to ensure immigrants and felons don’t register before they are eligible. There is still work to be done, however.”

In prepared remarks, Adams explains how Guam attempted to discriminate against U.S. citizens wishing to participate in a recent plebiscite election:

“The legislature of Guam passed an election law confining the right to vote in a status plebiscite to a preferred racial group – so called ‘native inhabitants’ … Guam imposed voter qualifications based on blood ancestry much like the Oklahoma grandfather clauses struck down by the Supreme Court over a century ago … When [my client] sought to register to vote at the government office, his registration form was marked ‘VOID’ by election officials. Even in the Jim Crow south of the early 1960’s, southern registrars weren’t brazen enough to deny the right to vote explicitly on having the wrong racial blood.”

Adams adds that oft-described “civil rights” groups like those invited to testify alongside him are conspicuously missing from modern challenges.

Adams also explained how the Commonwealth of Virginia improperly removed U.S. citizen voter registrants after questioning their eligibility:

“Virginia has been cancelling the voter registrations of American citizens, mistakenly cancelling them as ‘declared non-citizens.’ This is happening because the Motor Voter law passed in 1993 is outdated … Yet as in Guam, the improper cancellation of American citizens on the voter rolls has not seemed to draw the attention of any of the traditional civil rights groups who so zealously catalog the latest threat to voting.”

The hearing is scheduled for 10am Tuesday, September 10, in the Rayburn HOB 2141.

Read a copy of Adams’ testimony, here.  You can watch at the House Judiciary Committee here.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation is the nation’s most active public interest law firm dedicated to enforcing the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and ensuring the integrity of American elections – bringing more than a dozen cases to enforce voter list maintenance obligations and inspection rights under federal law in federal courts across the nation in addition to serving as amicus in more than a dozen voting law cases. The Foundation also works with election officials and policymakers to improve the integrity of elections.

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. ###

244 Counties Have More Registered Voters than Live Adults

29 States and D.C. Show Bloated Voter Rolls

(INDIANAPOLIS, IN.) – August 19, 2019: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is spotlighting jurisdictions across 29 states for in-depth inspections of voter registration records and local list maintenance practices in preparation for the 2020 presidential election. At least 244 counties across 28 states plus Alaska and D.C. report bloated voter rolls to federal officials. In response, public records research, voter roll audits, and various litigation activities are now underway.

“One of the most effective strategies for protecting the integrity of American elections is keeping voter rolls clean,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Carefully maintained records will better prepare state and local governments to quickly recover from any future cyber-attacks. In addition to fraud concerns, unkempt rolls can serve as a warning signal to future corruption and failures in local governments.”

The Foundation created an infographic to depict where the hotspots for potential voter list maintenance failures currently stand. In addition to the 244 counties exceeding 100% voter registration, another 279 counties across 31 states exhibit implausibly high registration rates of 95 to 99 percent.

Registrants in highlighted jurisdictions can expect a variety of research techniques and legal actions from the Foundation in preparation for the 2020 Election, such as full battery voter registration records request letters and comprehensive voter list audits. Based on these efforts, the Foundation will opt for formal agreements addressing corrective strategies where possible or, federal litigation under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993.

The NVRA (also known as “Motor Voter”) requires state and local election officials to properly maintain voter rolls and ensure that only eligible voters are registered. Holding more registrants than living adults indicates that election officials have failed to properly maintain voter rolls.

States with counties of concern are (# of counties): Kentucky (58), Michigan (29), South Carolina (25), Mississippi (22), Colorado (19), Alabama (14), Illinois (13), South Dakota (11), Kansas (8), Texas (8), Nebraska (6), Georgia (5), West Virginia (4), Iowa (3), Montana (3), Missouri (2), Washington state (2), Louisiana (2), Florida (1), New Mexico (1), Arizona (1), Arkansas (1), California (1), Indiana (1), New York (1), North Carolina (1), Virginia (1), and Wyoming (1). Alaska and Washington, D.C. also join the list.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation has a distinguished record of bringing litigation against counties and locales with bloated voter rolls—yielding settlements and consent decrees that, if followed properly, will put jurisdictions on a path to more realistic voter registration rates. PILF has been involved in bringing nine separate lawsuits in the last two years to enforce list maintenance provisions of the NVRA, including in Texas, Mississippi, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia and Pennsylvania. The Foundation works to ensure that voting records meant to be publicly available are disclosed according to federal law. In the past two years, PILF sued jurisdictions in Texas, Pennsylvania, and North Carolina to enforce public inspection rights.

If a state or local official fails to respond to PILF’s correspondence or corrective findings, they risk a federal lawsuit.

A listing of all jurisdictions flagged for registration rates exceeding 100% can be found, here.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation is the nation’s most active public interest law firm dedicated to enforcing the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and ensuring the integrity of American elections – bringing more than a dozen cases to enforce voter list maintenance obligations and inspection rights under federal law in federal courts across the nation in addition to serving as amicus in more than a dozen voting law cases. The Foundation also works with election officials and policymakers to improve the integrity of elections.

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. ###

PILF Statement on Census Citizenship Question Decision

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – June 27, 2019: Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) released the following statement on the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision regarding the inclusion of a citizenship question on the upcoming 2020 Census.

“Chief Justice Roberts unfortunately was the deciding vote,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “He agreed with the arguments of the institutional Left that how the Census question was added was more important than the common sense of asking the question in the first place. This is an unfortunate victory for the Swamp that opposed collecting facts about how many aliens are in the United States.”

“It is a sign of our time that the inclusion of a question about citizenship on the census has become a subject of bitter public controversy and has led to today’s regrettable decision. While the decision to place such a question on the 2020 census questionnaire is attacked as racist, there is a broad international consensus that inquiring about citizenship on a census is not just appropriate but advisable.” Justice Alito

Read the Foundation’s prior case filings on the matter here. The Foundation had made several arguments as an amicus party as this case developed.

Robust citizenship data is necessary to determine if redistricting maps properly protect minority voters. In the decades-long absence of general citizenship data provided by the Census, the DOJ had to selectively employ citizenship estimates – yet only in jurisdictions where such data were available. Without it, DOJ and others live in a statistical fog to determine whether a minority group is sufficiently large and geographically compact to necessarily yield a single-member district.

Citizenship data helps facilitate private efforts to enforcing voting laws. Census data are critical to determining which jurisdictions are falling behind federal mandates to maintain voter rolls free from bloat and corrupted entries. Courts have repeatedly relied on the ratio between registered voters and resident citizens in a locale as valuable insights—yet the citizenship data in its current form is not without flaws and can risk skewed interpretations. Improved data quality will also help empower private interests to ensure that federal law is being followed.  

Disagreement between Executive Branch Officials and career bureaucrats cannot serve as evidence of discriminatory intent. Plaintiffs are conjuring evidence of discriminatory intent due to administrative policy changes after an election. If such arguments are successful, core foundational concerns regarding the Executive Branch are endangered. The brief notes: “the Constitution of the United States makes plain that ‘executive Power shall be vested in the President of the United States of America.’ As the Supreme Court stated, ‘The insistence of the Framers upon unity in the Federal Executive—to insure both vigor and accountability—is well known.’ The unitary Executive is essential for individual liberty.”

The Public Interest Legal Foundation is the nation’s most active public interest law firm dedicated to enforcing the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and ensuring the integrity of American elections – bringing more than a dozen cases to enforce voter list maintenance obligations and inspection rights under federal law in federal courts across the nation in addition to serving as amicus in more than a dozen voting law cases. The Foundation also works with election officials and policymakers to improve the integrity of elections.

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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