(AUSTIN, TX.) – April 17, 2018: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton urged a state court judge to facilitate the disclosure of noncitizen voter registration records to the Public Interest Legal Foundation in a brief filed this week (Harris Bennett v. Texas, D-1-GN-18-001583).
The PILF is currently engaged in two lawsuits (federal and state) to seek the full release of noncitizen voter registration documents withheld by Harris County, Texas. In the state court matter, the TxOAG asked the judge “to enter a final judgment declaring the information at issue to be subject to disclosure” in a brief filed on April 16.
“General Paxton has shown what open governance looks like,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “These records are a matter of public interest and should already be accessible. Once this information is finally in hand, the PILF will assist Texas by crafting reforms that protect citizens and immigrants alike from the harmful consequences of noncitizen voter participation. Many don’t want data about alien registration and voting to see the light of day. Most Americans are on the side of transparency in government.”
The PILF exercised its right to seek intervention under Texas law in a suit brought by Harris County after the State ruled that significant portions of the organization’s request for noncitizen voter documents should be fulfilled.
Harris County refused to allow the foundation to inspect or be furnished documents related to noncitizen registered voters either reporting their own unlawful registration or discovered thanks to officials efforts. The County’s attempts to use Texas law to limit PILF’s visibility toward records constituted an apparent violation of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993. The PILF filed a federal lawsuit in response.
For a detailed look at the fact pattern leading to the federal lawsuit, click here.
The Public Interest Legal Foundation has built a record of case studies uncovering noncitizen voter registration and voting in a growing number of states.
- In October 2016, PILF found noncitizens registered to vote in Philadelphia. Half of those voted in at least one election.
- In May 2017, PILF found 5,556 voters removed by the Commonwealth of Virginia as “non-citizens”. Roughly 33% voted. This research followed an initial October 2016 sampling that yielded 1,000 noncitizens.
- In September 2017, PILF found 1,069 noncitizens within New Jersey’s voter registration system.
- In October 2017, PILF testified before the Pennsylvania House State Government Committee on the matter of noncitizen voting in the state and encouraged an official review to identify more ineligible voters. Testimony was taken again by the PA Senate State Government Committee in December 2017.
- In January 2018, PILF put Bexar County, Texas, on notice that it will file a federal lawsuit if officials continue to refuse inspection of voter records belonging to noncitizens discovered or self-reported.
- In February 2018, PILF sued the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania for failing to disclose noncitizen voter records under the NRVA.
- In March 2018, PILF sued Harris County, Texas for failing to disclose noncitizen voter records under the NRVA.
- In April 2018, PILF filed a motion to intervene in the Texas court suit filed by Harris County against the Texas Attorney General to seek a dismissal of the matter.
The Texas court documents and exhibits may be accessed at the PILF website, here.
The state court action was filed in the District Court of Travis County, Texas, 459th District. The case number is D-1-GN-18-001583.
Attorneys for the Public Interest Legal Foundation are J. Christian Adams, Noel H. Johnson, and Joseph Vanderhulst. Brenham-based Andy Taylor of Andy Taylor & Associates, P.C. serves as local counsel.
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.