Partisan Organizations Are Protecting Bloated Voter Rolls

Published On: November 22nd, 2017

(INDIANAPOLIS, IN.) – November 22, 2017: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) today commented on a partisan collective’s promise to thwart ongoing probes into bloated voter rolls in 24 states.

The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, Brennan Center, and Demos announced an effort to offer “guidance” to jurisdictions contacted by the PILF earlier this year after a uniform review found bloated voter rolls in 248 counties across 24 states.

“It’s not surprising to see a once-respectable organization like the Lawyers’ Committee lash out in this way after years of dubious efforts to keep voter records outdated and unreliable,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “The LC’s leadership has a lawless record of selectively enforcing voting laws to meet partisan and racialist ends.”

Groups like the aforementioned regularly inject themselves into conversations regarding voter roll maintenance to minimize the importance of federal standards on the matter. Worse, they erroneously accuse election integrity groups of working to trigger mass removals when no such mechanism exists. At its heart, the Lawyers’ Committee and company are trying to resist lawful research to ensure that voters are being properly served by their officials. PILF has already identified counties admitting a failure to regularly clean rolls, some dating back to 2011.

“It seems like we’ve arrived to the point where asking election officials to do what the law requires makes PILF subversive—what a time we live in,” Adams said.

Across 24 states, 248 counties show more registered voters than adult residents, according to figures reflective of the 2016 Election.

“PILF has received a variety of information from counties thus far,” Adams explained. “Some are admitting budgetary constraints prevent updates; others promise reforms after staff shakeups. A cohort of counties unfortunately falls into defensive crouches and hide public records.

“The Lawyers’ Committee’s disapproval of these probes should cast suspicion on their own motives,” Adams adds.

The groups have agitated for years to handcuff state and local election officials against more proactively enforcing voter roll maintenance laws that keep pace with the increasingly migratory electorate. The groups currently support the dismantling of a 30-state cooperative designed to identify individuals registered in duplicate while one party, Demos, defended a Florida county for not reviewing public death notices like obituaries for maintenance lead purposes. While PILF has dedicated resources to offer best practices for modern voter roll maintenance, the other groups threaten legal action for even entertaining contemporary technologies and methods.

PILF President Adams offered a word of advice for jurisdictions currently engaged in voter roll probes.

“Despite any promises to the contrary, these groups have little experience studying and litigating voter roll maintenance matters. Courts have already ruled against the groups’ incorrect interpretation of the NVRA and counties need to know they are losing in places like Florida and North Carolina. Acting on any advice to cease current transmissions of data that the PILF requested will heighten the risk of litigation. PILF has a record of dislodging information in courts after officials bent to political pressure to conceal them.

“If your jurisdiction is not properly maintaining voter records, these groups cannot help you,” Adams added.

Lawyers’ Committee president Kristen Clarke presents a number of concerning characteristics in her views on voting rights.

  • Clarke worked to exclude racial cohorts from full protection of the Voting Rights Act;
  • Clarke worked against bringing the DOJ case against Ike Brown, a Mississippi political operative found liable for voter discrimination against white voters; and
  • Clarke agitated against the inclusion of seasoned federal prosecutors to serve as DOJ poll monitors where manpower was short.

PILF initiated voter roll probes in 24 states in September 2017 after reviewing 2016 voting and Census records. A total of 248 counties and additional municipalities received voter data request letters.

PILF has successfully litigated to institute voter roll cleanup efforts and preserve record transparency in North Carolina, Virginia, and Mississippi.

Voter list maintenance cases continue in Indiana and Texas. A first-of-its-kind trial completed over summer 2017 in Broward County, Florida.

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 Foundation