We’re already hearing rumblings in the press about the mid-term elections in less than two years. These important elections should be free and fair. The first step is cleaning up the notoriously inflated voter registration rolls.
In that regard, Judical Watch has stepped up to the plate, sending notice of violation letters threatening to sue counties in 11 states where the number of registered voters exceeds the number of voting-age citizens, as calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2011-2015 American Community Survey.
We note in the letters that this is "strong circumstantial evidence that these . . . counties are not conducting reasonable voter registration record maintenance as mandated under the [National Voter Registration Act] NVRA." Both the federal NVRA and the Help America Vote Act require states to take reasonable steps to maintain accurate voting rolls.
The 11 states are: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Tennessee. (More warning letters may be sent out to additional states.) The states have 90 days after receiving the letters to address the problem and provide us with documentation showing that they have conducted a "statewide effort to conduct a program that reasonably ensures the lists of eligible voters are accurate." We informed the states that should they fail to take action to correct violations of Section 8 of the NVRA within 90 days, we would file suit.
Section 8 of the NVRA requires states to make a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters from official lists due to "the death of the registrant" or "a change in the residence of the registrant," and requires states to ensure noncitizens are not registered to vote.
Based on our review of Election Assistance Commission (EAC) data, the more recent U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey and the states’ voter registration records, Judicial Watch found the following counties have more total registered voters than citizens over 18 eligible to vote:
- Alabama: Choctaw, Conecuh, Greene, Hale, Lowndes, Macon, Marengo, Perry, Washington, Wilcox
- Florida: Clay, Flagler, Okaloosa, Osceola, Santa Rosa, St. Johns
- Georgia: Bryan, Columbia, DeKalb, Fayette, Forsyth, Fulton, Lee, Marion, McIntosh, Oconee
- Illinois: Alexander, Bureau, Cass, Clark, Crawford, DuPage, Franklin, Grundy, Hardin, Henderson, Jefferson, Jersey, Massac, McHenry, Mercer, Monroe, Pulaski, Rock Island, Sangamon, Scott, Union, Wabash, Washington, White
- Kentucky: Anderson, Bath, Boone, Breathitt, Caldwell, Carlisle, Cumberland, Fulton, Gallatin, Greenup, Hancock, Henry, Jefferson, Jessamine, Kenton, Livingston, Magoffin, McCracken, Menifee, Mercer, Monroe, Oldham, Powell, Russell, Scott, Spencer, Trigg, Trimble, Wolfe, Woodford
- New Jersey: Essex, Somerset
- North Carolina: Buncombe, Camden, Chatham, Cherokee, Clay, Dare, Durham, Guilford, Madison, Mecklenburg, New Hanover, Orange, Union, Watauga, Yancey
In our notice of violation letters, we warn that the failure to maintain accurate, up-to-date voter registration lists "required by federal law and by the expectations of [state] citizens" will "undermine public confidence in the electoral process."
We asked the states to "conduct or implement a systematic, uniform, nondiscriminatory program to remove from the list of eligible voters the names of persons who have become ineligible to vote by reason of a change of residence, death or a disqualifying criminal conviction." The states are also asked to remove from voter registration lists "noncitizens who have registered to vote unlawfully."
As part of our commitment to enforcement of election integrity laws, we struck a legal victory for clean voter rolls in Indiana, forcing the state to clean up its voter registration lists and overhaul its list-maintenance procedures. We also recently filed an amicus curiae brief in the U.S. Supreme Court in support of our existing agreement with Ohio to ensure that its voter rolls are up to date. This case is still pending before the high court.
Robert Popper, director of Judicial Watch’s Election Integrity Project, is lead attorney on this case. Popper was formerly deputy chief of the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.
He well knows that dirty election rolls mean dirty elections.
To be clear, these 11 states face possible Judicial Watch lawsuits to compel them to follow the law and take reasonable steps to clean up their voting rolls of dead, moved, and non-citizen voters.
Tom Fitton is the president of Judicial Watch. He is a nationally recognized expert on government corruption. A former talk radio and television host and analyst, Tom is well known across the country as a national spokesperson for the conservative cause. He has been quoted in Time, Vanity Fair, The Washington Post, The New York Times, and most every other major newspaper in the country. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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