Report: Noncitizens Discovered in New Jersey Voter Registration System

76 Percent Admitted Alien Status Up Front

(ALEXANDRIA, VA.) – September 11, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today released Garden State Gotcha: How Opponents of Citizenship Verification for Voting Are Putting New Jersey’s Noncitizens at Risk of Deportation.

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.

“New Jersey offers eye-opening lessons,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “A limited inquiry found that hundreds of noncitizens are documented throughout voter records, typically because a bureaucrat offered them an application. Some were even asked after presenting a Green Card. That broken system is propped up by an honor code proven repeatedly to fail. Many illegally voted. Some claimed they didn’t know they were registered until an immigration agent called. All will likely face an inquiry if they decide to become Americans.” 

“It’s time to have a serious discussion about modernizing our Motor Voter law and determine how we can verify citizenship in the process,” Adams added. “Anyone who disagrees exposes Americans to vote dilution and helps write one-way tickets for deportees.”

In the absence of regular data-sharing arrangements between federal officials and the State, the ability of election officials to identify aliens on the voter rolls in real time is almost nonexistent. Voter registrars are stuck waiting for noncitizens to contact them, usually in a panic, admitting to registering despite their ineligibility. Such reactionary maintenance was typically due to pending naturalization applications.

“New Jersey’s only defense to alien registration is the hope that aliens who get on the voters rolls will self-report,” the new PILF study notes. “Without proactive verification mechanisms built into the voter registration application process, cascading negative consequences are sure to follow for eligible and ineligible voters alike.”

After reviewing thousands of pages of voter records, Motor Voter arises as a contributing factor for why so many alien residents are getting trapped in the voter registration system.

Garden State Gotcha follows PILF’s previous work to quantify the number of voters cancelled for citizenship defects in Virginia. The Public Interest Legal Foundation found more than 5,500 cases.

Both New Jersey and Virginia are slated to perform statewide elections in November 2017.

Access to Garden State Gotcha: How Opponents of Citizenship Verification for Voting Are Putting New Jersey’s Noncitizens at Risk of Deportation has been made available, here.

Access to evidentiary exhibits referenced throughout can be found, 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.

###

PILF Statement on Texas Voter ID Ruling

(ALEXANDRIA, VA.) – August 23, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today responded to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas’ latest ruling on the photo voter identification law.

“The court has yet again proven all too willing to hand down rulings which beg to be overturned on appeal,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Texas’ voter identification law takes squarely into account the safety net system which the Fifth Circuit recommended be installed last year. The Public Interest Legal Foundation will offer amicus support for the law on appeal.”

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 Rejects Partisan Gerrymandering Claims Before SCOTUS

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – August 9, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today released a statement announcing the filing of an amicus brief with the American Civil Rights Union in support of Wisconsin’s redistricting maps currently challenged along partisan lines (Gill v. Whitford 16-1161).

“Allowing redistricting maps to be blocked for purely partisan reasons is a dangerous precedent that irrevocably invites federal authorities to intrude on states’ constitutional powers,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Partisan gerrymandering claims are yet another toehold for those seeking to weaken state powers.”

The brief challenges the federal district court’s finding that the 2011 redistricting map was unconstitutional.

“The lower court invited unlimited federal intrusion into a core Constitutional power granted to the States without Congress expressly permitting the intrusion,” the brief argues.

Below is a summary of observations made in opposition to the partisan gerrymandering claims made against Wisconsin.

Court precedents on the responsibilities of redistricting are clear. Except in cases where a redistricting plan targets a “racial minority for special discriminatory treatment”, states are constitutionally charged designing political jurisdiction. The brief echoes Chapman v. Meier: “We say once again that has been said on many occasions: reapportionment is primarily the duty and responsibility of the State through its legislature or other body, rather than of a federal court.”

Partisan gerrymandering claims upset the federalist balance of power. “The [lower court] based its admittedly novel conclusion not on a finding of discrimination abhorrent to deeply rooted constitutional principles but on the finding that the drafters of the plan intended ‘to entrench the Republican Party in power.’ Such a finding, built on a shaky foundation, at best, upsets the delicate balance of power,” the brief notes.

A copy of the brief, submitted on August 4, 2017 has been made 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.

###

PILF Backs Ohio’s Voter Roll Cleanup Rules Before SCOTUS

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – August 9, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today released a statement announcing the filing of an amicus brief on behalf of the American Civil Rights Union in support of Ohio’s policy for removing ineligible voters (Husted v. A. Phillip Randolph Institute 16-980).

“The State of Ohio is taking full advantage of its powers outlined in federal and state law to proactively manage voter rolls,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Federal law doesn’t prohibit common sense. After a registrant has failed to respond to notices and not vote in multiple elections, they may be cleaned from the rolls. The interest groups arguing otherwise are keeping voter rolls filled with dead and ineligible voters.

“A decision for Secretary of State Jon Husted keeps more tools and best practices on the table for Ohio and the more than a dozen states standing with them working to maintain voter records for an increasingly mobile electorate,” Adams added.

Below is a summary of observations made in support of Ohio’s voter list maintenance policies.

The U.S. Constitution grants Ohio the power to determine which ineligible voters are subject to cancellation. Limited Congressional actions and court precedent find that regulatory authority over federal elections remains exclusively with the states.

Ohio’s ‘supplemental’ voter list maintenance process is in keeping with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and the Help America Vote Act of 2002—finding otherwise violates basic principles of Federalism. Regardless of the standard used to rule, the appellate court is currently throttling Ohio’s maintenance procedures based on restrictions not found in the law. A state’s duty to set qualifications for voting is matched with the expectation that they are enforced. Further, Congress has strictly barred states from only using inactivity as a justification for voter removal. The Sixth Circuit incorrectly carries that further, blocking Ohio from its combined approach of considering inactivity and responsiveness to official inquiry.

Ohio does not remove voters simply for failure to vote—which otherwise would be violation of the NVRA and HAVA. The supplemental procedure requires that a voter failing to cast ballots for two consecutive years, does not respond to a confirmation notice within the allotted time, and continues to not vote for an additional four consecutive years be removed. Inactivity alone does not trigger an automatic cancellation.

A copy of the brief, submitted on August 7, 2017 has been made 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.

###

PILF Scores Early Court Victories in Florida Voter Roll Cleanup Suit

Court Recognizes Value in Calculating Voter Roll Bloat Rates

(MIAMI, FL.) – July 13, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today released a statement applauding several decisions related to a legal challenge over Broward County, Florida’s bloated voter registration records (ACRU v. Snipes).

The United States District Court in the Southern District of Florida weighed a number of matters related to proper voter list maintenance procedures; the validity of voter roll research methodologies; acceptable expert witness testimony; and others when largely denying Broward County and the SEIU United Healthcare Workers Local 1199’s joint requests for summary judgment.

“The Court offered a number of common-sense rulings in the face of Broward County’s claims that voter rolls are regularly scrubbed of outdated and ineligible records,” PILF Communications Director Logan Churchwell said. “The Court recognized that despite the County’s assurances to the contrary, one cannot dismiss the fact that Broward has more registered voters than resident citizens.”

Below is a summary of observations made by the Court to deny motions for summary judgment and prohibit certain plaintiff experts.

The Court recognized the value in studying voter registration totals against U.S. Census data.

“The Court does not agree with Snipes and United that outcomes bear no significance whatsoever when it comes to determining whether an election official has met her duties under a statute through which one of Congress’ stated purposes is to ‘ensure that accurate and current voter registration rolls are maintained’.”

“Ultimately, taking ACRU’s evidence as true, the voter registration rates extrapolated from Broward County’s voter rolls at the very least create a reasonable inference that Snipes, despite all of the stated list maintenance efforts she has undertaken, has failed to meet the reasonableness requirement under subsection (a)(4) of Section 8.”

The Court found that simply claiming to send mailings to relocating voters does not immunize registrars from scrutiny. 

“[T]his Court holds that although an election official’s particular [National Change of Address] process for identifying and removing voters who have changed their residence is “permissible under the NVRA” … such a process does not necessarily demonstrate full satisfaction of all the duties owed by that election official…”

The Court granted entry to two plaintiff experts, despite the defendants’ extensive efforts to exclude them from further proceedings.

Former Colorado Secretary of State Scott Gessler will “opine on industry practices he is familiar with, what he perceives as deficiencies in [Broward County Supervisor of Elections Office’s] list maintenance program, and how he believes such deficiencies can be remedied.”

Center for Immigration Studies Director of Research Dr. Steven Camarota will testify on the rates of voter registration for Broward County that exceed 100 percent of the eligible population.

A separate court recently recognized the value in voter registration calculations to pinpoint bloated jurisdictions like in Wake County, North Carolina, where a PILF client, Voter Integrity Project-NC, successfully defeated a dismissal motion on similar grounds.

The Broward County matter is expected to proceed to a trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Florida at the Wilkie D. Ferguson United States Courthouse later in July. Dates will be announced upon release.

A copy of the ruling, entered on July 12, 2017 has been made 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.

###

Comment on J. Christian Adams’ Appointment to Trump Voting Commission

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – July 10, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today offered comment on the Trump Administration’s decision to appoint PILF President J. Christian Adams to the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

“J. Christian Adams brings years of experience in protecting the rights of legitimate voters both inside and out of government to this Commission,” PILF Communications Director Logan Churchwell said. “Adams has successfully litigated against discriminatory voting districts, intimidation, jurisdictions failing to offer foreign language ballots, and counties with bloated voter rolls.

“Adams also brings deep experience in successfully dislodging voter data from states and locales that refused to disclose public records—most recently in the Commonwealth of Virginia,” Churchwell added.

Under J. Christian Adams’ leadership, the Public Interest Legal Foundation achieved the following in 2017:

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 Praises Eric Dreiband Nomination

Demonstrates Commitment to Rule of Law at Civil Rights Division

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – June 29, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today praised President Donald Trump’s selection of Eric Dreiband to run the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division as Assistant Attorney General.

“Eric Dreiband is the right pick to return the Civil Rights Division to a tradition of enforcing the law free from politics,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “He is the right person to renew the Division’s commitment to the Rule of Law – protecting the rights of all Americans. Further, the DOJ should again enforce laws requiring clean voter rolls and clean elections.

“The Division will hopefully return to enforcing all voting laws,” Adams added. “For too long, partisan interests drove civil rights enforcement. Refusal to hold states accountable for voter roll maintenance duties has generated fraud, confusion, and suspicion in our elections. The Voting Rights Act was designed to correct historic wrongs and confront future threats. Unfortunately, the Voting Rights Act was only enforced by the Obama Justice Department if it helped Democrat Party interests. This law must be enforced to protect all Americans.

“Mr. Dreiband will inherit a Division that has seen multiple federal courts scold lawyers for misconduct or bringing abusive cases. The American people expect Justice Department lawyers to tell the truth, follow the law, and protect civil rights rather than infringe them. For the last eight years, misconduct of every sort has affected Civil Rights Division enforcement.” 

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.

###

Settlement Reached in Wake County NC Voter Roll Cleanup Lawsuit

(RALEIGH, NC.) – June 27, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today released a statement announcing a settlement agreement for a federal lawsuit to clean voter rolls in Wake County, North Carolina (Voter Integrity Project NC v. Wake County BOE).

After nearly a year of litigation, the Wake County Board of Elections (WCBOE) voted on June 5 to adopt a settlement agreement with PILF client the Voter Integrity Project NC that PILF believes will serve to improve the county’s voter rolls in the years ahead.

In sum, the parties agreed to the following:

“We are sincerely pleased with the resolution of this matter,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “We are pleased that Wake County has agreed to investigate ways to more quickly identify voter record flaws that risk polling place confusion and absentee ballot irregularities alike. The public should expect verifiable improvements to the local voter registration system in the years ahead. Other counties in North Carolina should take note that requests for public information and obligations to maintain clean rolls must be met.  In the future, election officials across North Carolina should take seriously their obligation to comply with all provisions in the National Voter Registration Act.”

In February 2017, Senior U.S. District Judge W. Earl Britt ruled in favor of plaintiff VIP-NC on a case dismissal discussion, finding that the methodology used to determine voter roll bloat was “reasonable”:

Considering VIP-NC’s allegation that the number of registered voters in Wake County has exceeded, and continues to exceed, the number of eligible voters, which allegation is in turn supported by reliable data and WBOE’s failure to use available jury excuse information, a reasonable inference can be drawn that WCBOE is not making a reasonable effort to conduct a voter list maintenance program in accordance with the NVRA.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit on behalf of VIP-NC in July 2016 after the organization demonstrated how Wake County’s voter registration list surpassed the total number of eligible voting-age citizens, according to the U.S. Census.

PILF’s client, the Voter Integrity Project, sent public information requests and notice of violation letters to multiple North Carolina counties. This settlement affects only Wake County.

A copy of the settlement agreement, signed by W. Ellis Boyle, Chair of the Wake County Board of Elections, on June 15, 2017 has been made 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.

###

Public Interest Legal Offers Voter Registration ‘Best Practices’ Guide for Election Officials

(INDIANAPOLIS, IN.) – June 21, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today announced the publication of Best Practices for Achieving Integrity in Voter Registration, a report dedicated to offering state and local governments expert guidance on cutting-edge strategies and techniques in maintaining voter rolls for an increasingly mobile electorate.

PILF relied upon experts in election administration and previous experience in state and federal election oversight to collaborate in composing the report.

“This report is our attempt to disseminate lessons learned in voter roll maintenance, encouraging state and local officials to re-assess their current procedures where needed,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Too many take for granted the idea that all jurisdictions’ voter records are properly and uniformly cared for. This broad-scoped study will encourage improvement nationwide.”

Best Practices argues that in the quarter century since President Bill Clinton signed his first law, the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), “chronic inaccuracy and [a] lack of integrity in the voter rolls” has become the “most significant problem facing America’s electoral process.” The authors highlight how fossilized federal standards locked administrators into a system of voter roll maintenance via First Class Mail—giving little allowance for adoption of contemporary technologies. Worse, the core mechanics of NVRA, commonly known as “Motor Voter”, did not overtly anticipate the ever-increasing access of legally and illegally-present aliens to social service transactions where voter registration could improperly occur.

The authors offer the following general reforms, outlined in greater detail in the report:

The Best Practices report follows President Donald J. Trump’s Executive Order on the Establishment of Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity. PILF intends to contribute to the body’s future studies by offering these findings and suggestions in the near future.

“Voter registration reform is the next big debate in our elections,” Adams added. “Current law and procedures do not adequately reflect our increasingly mobile society. Congress did not anticipate in the 1990s that states like California and Maryland would offer Motor Voter transactions to illegally present noncitizens. ‘Best Practices’ helps local officials strike a balance between integrity and access with an eye always toward innovation.”

The primary authors for Best Practices are:

You can access Best Practices for Achieving Integrity in Voter Registration, 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.

###

J. Christian Adams Commends Comey Testimony

(ALEXANDRIA, VA.) – June 8, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today issued a statement in response to portions of former FBI Director James Comey’s Senate Intelligence Committee testimony.

“I commend former Director Comey’s forthright comments putting to rest questions surrounding whether Russian actors modified votes cast in 2016,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Too many have carelessly used language to stoke concerns that ‘the Russians hacked the election’ to cynically question the validity of vote tallies for political ends. Real concerns about the foreign influence of our election system are closer to home and are illegally registered to vote.”

 

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.

###

Older Entries