PILF: PA Voter Registration System Sets Immigrants, Felons Up to Fail

Published On: October 15th, 2018

(HARRISBURG, PA.) – October 15, 2018: Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams testified today before the Pennsylvania House State Government Committee on election integrity reform opportunities benefiting immigrant and felon residents.

In prepared remarks, Adams notes that:

  • Pennsylvania election officials are not being transparent with their actions involving the identification and removal of noncitizen registrants;
  • Pennsylvania does not have a long-term solution to preventing noncitizens from achieving voter registration;
  • Pennsylvania is behind the curve on maintaining registrations belonging to incarcerated felons; and
  • Pennsylvania is not doing enough to protect immigrant and felon residents from prematurely participating in elections.

Adams summarizes:

In both matters—noncitizen and felon—Pennsylvania is setting people up to fail. Bad procedures offered voter registration to Asian immigrants in only English or Spanish. Today, bad law is creating a space for felons to mistakenly cast a ballot at the behest of a pushy campaign volunteer just as they try to rejoin civilian life. When officials show lacking care for proper procedure, they in turn neglect the people intentionally or unintentionally accessing the systems they are charged with operating. When these systems fail, the immigrant and the felon will pay the penalty—every single time.

The Foundation previously issued a report, Steeling the Vote, outlining disclosed examples of noncitizen voter participation and the means by which they gained entry and were later removed from the registration system in Allegheny County. The report may be read, here.

The Foundation is currently engaged in federal litigation to gain access to Department of State records detailing all efforts to identify and remove the thousands of noncitizens reportedly registered to vote across the Commonwealth.

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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