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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Virginia Court Blocks Plan to Accept Ballots Without Postmarks After Election Day

Court Enjoins State Election Board from Accepting Absentee Ballots Without Postmarks After Election Day

(RICHMOND, VA.) – October 28, 2020: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), on behalf of Thomas Reed, a local electoral board member, praised a court injunction granted today to prevent the Virginia State Board of Elections from accepting absentee ballots received up to three days after Election Day without legible postmarks (Reed v. Virginia Dept. of Elections).

Mr. Reed had a straightforward request: follow the law,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “The judge enjoined the Virginia State Board of Elections from issuing instructions to count late ballots without postmarks.”

The ruling was given from the bench around 3pm Eastern time Wednesday. More documents about the ruling will be provided here as they are available.

Existing Virginia statute (24.2-709) is clear: “any absentee ballot returned to the general registrar after the closing of the polls on election day but before noon on the third day after the election and postmarked on or before the date of the election shall be counted…” (emphasis added).

The defendants’ guidance to local election boards on August 4, 2020, stood contrary to Virginia law, particularly allowing ballots received within the Election Day plus-3 window even if they do not “have a postmark, or the postmark is missing or illegible.”

The plaintiff sought declaratory and injunctive relief from the Circuit Court of the County of Frederick that:

  1. Instructions issued by the defendants conflict with specific Virginia statute;
  2. A postmark dated on or before Election Day be required for acceptance;
  3. The Intelligent Mail Barcode system by the USPS be used to verify date of mailing in the cases of missing or illegible postmarks; and,
  4. Enjoin the defendants from issuing any further instructions that conflict with existing Virginia statutes.

The plaintiff for this action is Thomas P. Reed, a Frederick County Board of Elections Member.

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, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maryland, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Maine and filed amicus briefs in litigation across the nation.

The case was filed in the Circuit Court of the County of Frederick, Virginia. The case number is 20-622. Counsel for the Public Interest Legal Foundation is J. Christian Adams. Winchester-based Phillip S. Griffin II serves as co-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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Video: Visiting Pittsburgh Voters Registered at Commercial Addresses

You Can’t Claim a Non-Residential Address Unless You Actually Live There

(PITTSBURGH, PA.) – October 28, 2020: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) produced and released a video documenting visits to non-residential addresses claimed by registered voters in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania’s voter registration law requires prospective registrants to list addresses of actual residence. The Foundation visited commercial addresses around the Pittsburgh metro which are listed on local voter rolls.

All locations were listed on local voter rolls with voting credits issued as recently as the 2018 General midterm elections.

Pennsylvanians Register to Vote at Non-Residential Addresses from Public Interest Legal on Vimeo.

Watch the footage on Facebook

Watch the footage on Twitter

“Pennsylvania has vacant lots and businesses listed as residences for voting. Were mail ballots sent to these locations?PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said.

Prior to the visits, the Foundation inspected similar matters in the Las Vegas, Nevada, region and previously published a national report featuring tallies of non-residential address used for voting purposes. 

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, 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 National Billboard Campaign: Avoid Mail Voting

Billboards Appearing in Contested States

(INDIANAPOLIS, IN.) – October 15, 2020: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) formally announced its national billboard campaign to encourage the American electorate to cast ballots in person.  

“Voting in person is the gold standard to having your vote count,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Mail ballots disenfranchise voters because ballots are lost, completed with mistakes, and sometimes even stolen or thrown away. We hope these billboards serve as a reminder of their in-person options that are proven to ensure votes are properly received and counted.”

The initial messaging comes in two forms: “Vote in Person: It’s Better than the Mail,” and “Vote in Person: Protect Your Vote.” A cartoonish image of a mail ballot addressed to “Your Neighbor” is situated with the messages.

Billboards (digital and traditional) are going up in major cities and near busy freeways in states like Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, and others.

Pittsburgh, PA

Detroit, MI

During the 2020 Election cycle, the Foundation demonstrated in courts and the public conversation that the United States is not ready for an emergency transition to all-mail voting. Briefs were filed in 11 federal lawsuits demonstrating the numbers of apparently deceased and duplicated registrations still on the rolls in those states. PILF lawsuits against Detroit and Allegheny County, Pennsylvania triggered voter roll maintenance efforts.

PILF also outlined how more than 28 million mail ballots since 2012 went untracked and unreturned to election offices. Millions more were rejected or sent to outdated or otherwise wrong addresses.

The Foundation released a national report detailing the hundreds of thousands of deceased and duplicated registrants across the nation’s voter rolls, which are now the basis for tens of millions of mail ballots being put in the postal system.

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, 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 Client Demands Court Action Against Virginia Plan to Accept Ballots Without Postmarks

Seeks Injunction to Enforce Specific Virginia Law Requiring Postmark

(ALEXANDRIA, VA.) – October 13, 2020: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (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 new administrative guidance that would accept absentee ballots received within three days after Election Day despite missing or illegible postmarks. Such guidance stands in stark violation of a Virginia statute signed into law on March 11, 2020 (Reed v. Virginia Dept. of Elections).

Existing Virginia statute (24.2-709) is clear: “any absentee ballot returned to the general registrar after the closing of the polls on election day but before noon on the third day after the election and postmarked on or before the date of the election shall be counted…” (emphasis added).

The defendants’ guidance to local election boards on August 4, 2020, stands contrary to Virginia law, particularly allowing ballots received within the Election Day plus-3 window even if they do not “have a postmark, or the postmark is missing or illegible.”

Mr. Reed has a straightforward request. Follow the law,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said.

The plaintiff seeks declaratory and injunctive relief from the Circuit Court of the County of Frederick that:

  1. Instructions issued by the defendants conflict with specific Virginia statute;
  2. A postmark dated on or before Election Day be required for acceptance;
  3. The Intelligent Mail Barcode system by the USPS be used to verify date of mailing in the cases of missing or illegible postmarks; and,
  4. Enjoin the defendants from issuing any further instructions that conflict with existing Virginia statutes.

The plaintiff for this action is Thomas P. Reed, a Frederick County Board of Elections Member.

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, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Maryland, Florida, Mississippi, Texas, and Maine and filed amicus briefs in litigation across the nation.

The case was filed in the Circuit Court of the County of Frederick, Virginia. The case number is 20-622. Counsel for the Public Interest Legal Foundation is J. Christian Adams. Winchester-based Phillip S. Griffin II serves as co-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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Video: Visiting Nevada Voters Registered at Commercial Addresses

You Can’t Claim a Non-Residential Address Unless You Actually Live There

(LAS VEGAS, NV.) – October 5, 2020: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) produced and released a video documenting visits to non-residential addresses claimed by registered voters in southern Nevada.

Nevada’s voter registration form requires prospective registrants to list addresses of actual residence. The Foundation performed site visits at various visits around the Las Vegas metro and Pahrump to investigate questionable addresses on local voter rolls.

Voting from Nevada Businesses from Public Interest Legal on Vimeo.

All locations were listed on local voter rolls with voting credits issued as recently as the 2018 General midterm elections.

Watch the footage on Facebook

Watch the footage on Twitter

“There are a lot of people registered to vote at commercial addresses—meaning businesses, mining facilities, liquor stores—and that messes up the voter rolls. These people, under Nevada law, should be registered [to vote] where they live and not at a business,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said in the video. “Election officials are going to be mailing ballots to every registered voter—whether or not they ask for it—so the integrity of the address is so important in that situation.”

Prior to the visits, the Foundation published a national report featuring tallies of non-residential address used for voting purposes. In a separate study, Clark County disclosed to the Foundation that more than 223,000 mail ballots from the June primaries were returned undeliverable. 

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, 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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Harris County, TX Sued to Prevent Noncitizen Voter Registration

Records Apparently Show Admitted Foreign Nationals Successfully Registering

(HOUSTON, TX.) – September 28, 2020: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) filed a petition for writ of mandamus against the Harris County Voter Registrar, seeking to prevent future occurrences of apparently self-identified foreign nationals being accepted into the local voter roll (In re Public Interest Legal Foundation).

Voter registration applications printed by both the U.S. Government and Texas pose a direct question: “Are you a citizen of the United States?” PILF research into Harris County records revealed a repeating problem of individuals answering “NO,” yet were registered anyway.

The Foundation present detailed examples of similar files and seeks a court order that Harris County uniformly challenge or reject all future voter registration applications that do not contain the answer “YES” to the citizenship eligibility question.

“The Foundation made a federal case to access to these records—now we see what the fight was all for,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Individuals claiming to be foreign nationals should not be registered in Harris County. These failures harm citizens, but they also put those immigrants into serious jeopardy with federal officials. We hope to see swift action prior to the voting this fall.

Read the court filing and exhibits here.

The Foundation previously settled a federal lawsuit to review noncitizen voter registration cancellation records held in Harris County after it defeated a motion to dismiss the case in March 2019.

The Foundation originally selected Harris County for study after local officials described the underlying problems spanning nearly two decades—most often in the context of lobbying for or against election reform bills in Austin or Washington.

The case was filed in the in the Court of Appeals for the Fourteenth District of Texas in Houston, number 14-20-00665-cv.

Attorneys for the Public Interest Legal Foundation are J. Christian Adams and Noel H. Johnson. Brenham-based Andy Taylor of Andy Taylor & Associates, P.C. serves as local counsel.

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, 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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