DOJ Files Legal Brief Supporting PILF’s Right to Obtain Pennsylvania Records Relating to Voter Registration by Foreign Nationals

Published On: November 08th, 2023

(Alexandria, VA) – November 8, 2023: The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an amicus curiae brief supporting the Public Interest Legal Foundation’s (PILF) right under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) to obtain records relating to the registration of foreign nationals at PennDOT offices for more than two decades.

This lawsuit followed a 2017 announcement by then Pennsylvania Secretary of State, Robert Torres, that a so-called “glitch” at the Pennsylvania Department of Motor Vehicles was enabling foreign nationals to register to vote when they applied for or renewed their driver’s licenses. PILF’s lawsuit seeks records to show the full extent of how many foreign nationals were registered to vote, their voting histories, and what was done to remove foreign nationals from the voter roll.

The DOJ’s filing adopts PILF’s position that the public has a right to inspect records relating to efforts to identify and remove foreign nationals from the voter roll. Further, the DOJ asserts that the Commonwealth cannot redact the names and addresses of foreign nationals who requested to have their voter registrations canceled.

The DOJ’s brief states: The Secretary’s crabbed interpretation of Section 8(i) also would frustrate Congress’s purposes in enacting the NVRA, leaving States’ voter registration activities entirely immune from the public scrutiny that Congress drafted Section 8(i) to provide.”

In March, the United States District Court ruled in PILF’s favor that the Foundation was entitled to these documents, including the voting history of the foreign nationals, under the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).

“The Department of Justice correctly supported PILF’s legal position and the public’s right to know about vulnerabilities in their elections,” said PILF President, J. Christian Adams. “Five years and three Pennsylvania Secretaries of State later, the Commonwealth is still fighting to keep these records from the public. Secretary Schmidt should stop hiding evidence of the government inviting aliens onto Pennsylvania voter rolls.”

Prior case filings in Public Interest Legal Foundation v. Al Schmidt and related documents can be found here. The DOJ’s amicus curiae brief can be read here.

The attorneys for the Public Interest Legal Foundation in this case are Noel H. Johnson and Kaylan L. Phillips.

Previously, the Foundation has fought and won access to records relating to foreign nationals registering and voting in Texas and North Carolina. Additionally, the Foundation has conducted extensive research on foreign nationals getting registered to vote in Arizona, Illinois, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, California, Georgia, Virginia, and New York.

Public Interest Legal Foundation
 (PILF) is the nation’s only public interest law firm dedicated wholly 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 has brought lawsuits and won victories in Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and across the United States.


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