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.
“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.
(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
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.
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
Michigan, like other states and jurisdictions studied before, demonstrates how noncitizens become registered to vote through DMV transactions and others like it required by the National Voter Registration Act (aka Motor Voter). The State does not have a verification system keeping false claims of citizenship (intentionally given or otherwise) from being accepted during voter registration. Immigrants and citizens alike continue to suffer the consequences. Several Michigan jurisdictions also exhibited alarming problems with other voter roll maintenance obligations like duplications and potentially deceased registrants remaining on the rolls for years on end.
“Motor Voter is failing Motor City,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Like this Foundation has seen in other jurisdictions, Motor Voter is inviting noncitizens onto voter rolls. This report also encourages state and local officials to take a closer look at procedures that are yielding alarming numbers of duplicate and potentially deceased registrants.”
Sanctuary jurisdictions in seven states disclosed various data demonstrating how noncitizens entered their voter registration systems, voted, and were later revealed to be ineligible—often taking years for discovery. In many cases, a state’s implementation of the National Voter Registration Act, also known as the “Motor Voter” law, invited noncitizens to participate in voting and relied on those same individuals to self-report their actions at their own peril.
Summary Totals of Self-Reported or Cancelled Alien Registrations
Fairfax County, VA: 1,334
Middlesex County, NJ: 346
Chesterfield County: VA: 321
Philadelphia, PA: 317
San Diego County, CA: 264
Chicago, IL: 232
Arlington, VA: 145
Essex County, NJ: 107
San Francisco County, CA: 28
DeKalb County, GA: 11
New York, NY: 6
Riverside County, CA: 6
Ocean County, NJ: 3
3,120 Noncitizen Removals
“The failures of Motor Voter are clearly visible in sanctuary cities,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “A terrible combination of bad Motor Voter enforcement, increasing chatter over noncitizen voting rights, and simple disregard for immigration law creates an environment for illegal voting. Bad actors and unassuming immigrants are caught up in this system all the same. Congress must update and fix the flaws in the Motor Voter system.”
Amid federal litigation with the Pennsylvania Department of State for complete access to noncitizen voter registration records, Allegheny County election officials disclosed hundreds of pages detailing how noncitizens were regularly offered voter registration by government employees and third-party drives, despite language barriers and clear understandings as to what they were signing. With no comprehensive system for detecting and removing ineligible voters from the rolls, the majority of cancellations derive from noncitizens self-reporting their own deportable offenses.
139 instances of noncitizen voter registration and eventual cancellation were disclosed by the County from 2006 to 2018.
27 percent of noncitizens cast at least one ballot prior to removal.
Noncitizens remain registered for an average of six years before they are removed.
71 percent of noncitizens self-reported their ineligible registrations at great legal risk.
63 percent of noncitizens were registered in PennDOT transactions.
Allegheny County officials raised alarm about the system failures with the Commonwealth in 2008.
“Noncitizens have voted in Pennsylvania because Motor Voter registration is broken,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “This report proves how Pennsylvania failed citizens and immigrants alike. For decades, unassuming immigrants were invited to break the law in a systematic fashion while citizens suffered the consequences of vote dilution. Pennsylvania needs a comprehensive election integrity solution and Allegheny County clearly demonstrates what is at stake if the problem isn’t fixed. Congress must update and fix the flaws in the current Motor Voter system.”
Our press release on the report is available here.
Access to exhibits referenced throughout can be found, here.
(INDIANAPOLIS, IN.) – September 25, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today announced that it placed 248 counties on notice for holding more registered voters than adult residents in their respective jurisdictions. Officials in 24 states now risk lawsuits if they do not disclose satisfactory data demonstrating effective voter roll maintenance efforts before and after the 2016 Election.
“During the 2016 Election, 24 states had bloated voter rolls,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Voter fraud begins with corrupted voter rolls. Our nation’s voter rolls have records that cannot be distinguished between living or dead; citizen or alien; resident or relocated. We hear about possible cyber-attacks, but we aren’t doing enough to fix voter rolls that are certainly corrupt. The voter rolls are so bad in some states that election officials would have a hard time telling the difference between sabotage and negligence.”
Letters mailed to the counties and locales in question note that it appears they are violating the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) because they are not properly maintaining the voter rolls. 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.
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. PILF recently completed the first trial in the history of the NVRA to enforce list maintenance obligations. The case was brought on behalf of the American Civil Rights Union against Broward County, Florida.
States with counties that received a notice letter are (# of counties): Kentucky (41), Michigan (32), Iowa (31), Illinois (22), Mississippi (19), Colorado (17), Texas (12), Alabama (12), South Dakota (12), Nebraska (9), Georgia (6), New York (6), West Virginia (6), New Mexico (5), North Carolina (5), California (2), Louisiana (2), Montana (2), Virginia (2), Arizona (1), Florida (1), Missouri (1), Oklahoma (1), and Washington State (1).
Kentucky’s surpassing Michigan as the most bloated state is particularly concerning giving the Secretary of State’s belligerent, public refusals to share voter data with the Presidential Commission on Election Integrity, despite the State’s offering of the same information here.
“Federal law requires election officials to conduct a reasonable effort to maintain voter registration lists free of dead voters, ineligible voters, and voters who have moved away,” the notice letters state. “Based on our comparison of publicly available information published by the U.S. Census Bureau and the federal Election Assistance Commission, it appears that your jurisdiction is failing to comply with these federal law requirements.”
The notices seek a variety of documents to clearly discern which jurisdictions are failing to perform basic voter list maintenance duties. Some records sought concern: noncitizen voters; numbers of dead, duplicate, relocated, and felon removals; evidence of use for databases which better identify relocated or alien registrants; and third-party communications about voter rolls, among others.
If a local official fails to respond to PILF’s letter or declines to allow inspection of election records, they risk a federal lawsuit.
A listing off all jurisdictions recently given notice under the NVRA can be found, here.
A copy of an example notice letter sent may be reviewed, 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.
After a six-month review of New Jersey county voter registration files, the Public Interest Legal Foundation found numerous enforcement flaws for the National Voter Registration Act (Motor Voter) that unnecessarily expose noncitizens to future naturalization challenges and even deportation without clearly-justified reforms.
1,069 admitted and officially recorded noncitizens in 11 counties engaged on some level with the NJ voter registration system;
37 percent of aliens self-reporting their status also cast ballots prior;
78 percent of noncitizens were invited to register while receiving driver’s licenses or in other government transactions like community college admissions or public schools; and
Eight counties, including one “sanctuary county”, claimed to have never seen noncitizens registered or applying to vote.
“It’s time to have a serious discussion about modernizing our Motor Voter law and determine how we can verify citizenship in the process,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Anyone who disagrees exposes Americans to vote dilution and helps write one-way tickets for deportees.”
The Public Interest Legal Foundation published a sequel report based on voting history records in Virginia showing that large numbers of ineligible aliens are registering to vote and casting ballots. In some Virginia jurisdictions, the number of people registered to vote exceeds the number of citizens eligible to vote.
Virginia election officials quietly removed 5,556 voters for non-citizenship between 2011 and May 2017;
1,852 of those removed as noncitizens cast ballots;
A total of 7,474 illegal ballots were cast from the pool of removed noncitizens;
Some records of illegal voting date back to the 1980s before their respective removals;
Virginia election officials routinely fail to alert law enforcement about these illegal votes or registrations.
“At the instruction of Governor McAuliffe’s political appointees, local election officials spent countless resources to prevent this information from spilling into the open,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Virginia hid critical information that would have improved election integrity while a political operative-turned-governor vetoed numerous proposals that would’ve prevented alien registration and voting. From NoVa to Norfolk and all urban and rural points in between, alien voters are casting ballots with practically no legal consequences in response.”
The Public Interest Legal Foundation published a report based on voting history records in Virginia showing that large numbers of ineligible aliens are registering to vote and casting ballots. They are canceling out the valid votes of American citizens. In some Virginia jurisdictions, the number of people registered to vote exceeds the number of citizens eligible to vote.
“An investigation in Virginia by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) and the Virginia Voter’s Alliance (VVA) shows that the cause of this problem is something much worse than simple ineffective governance. Worse still, Virginia state election officials are obstructing access to public records that reveal the extent to which non-citizens are participating in our elections. These obstructionist tactics have led to PILF and VVA obtaining data from only a handful of Virginia counties so far. But the information from a few counties demonstrates a massive problem.
In our small sample of just eight Virginia counties who responded to our public inspection requests, we found 1046 aliens who registered to vote illegally.
The problem is most certainly exponentially worse because we have no data regarding aliens on the registration rolls for the other 125 Virginia localities. Even in this small sample, when the voting history of this small sample of alien registrants is examined, nearly 200 verified ballots were cast before they were removed from the rolls. Each one of them is likely a felony.”