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Judicial Watch • Complaint Ohio NVRA

Complaint Ohio NVRA

Complaint Ohio NVRA

Page 1: Complaint Ohio NVRA

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Number of Pages:13

Date Created:August 30, 2012

Date Uploaded to the Library:July 11, 2016

Tags:Census, PAGEID, obligations, Ohio, maintenance, NVRA, lists, voter, Members, Plaintiffs, Attorney, complaint, Secretary, defendant, filed, plaintiff, states


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Case: 2:12-cv-00792-EAS-TPK Doc Filed: 08/30/12 Page: PAGEID THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OHIO
EASTERN DIVISION
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC., behalf certain its members; and
TRUE THE VOTE, its corporate
capacity,
Plaintiffs,
vs.
OHIO SECRETARY STATE
JON HUSTED, his official capacity,
Defendant.
Case No.: 2:12-cv-792
COMPLAINT
Plaintiffs Judicial Watch, Inc. and True the Vote, their attorneys, bring this action for
declaratory and injunctive relief and allege follows:
INTRODUCTION
Plaintiffs Judicial Watch, Inc. and True the Vote seek declaratory and injunctive
relief compel the State Ohio comply with its voter list maintenance obligations under
Section the National Voter Registration Act 1993 NVRA U.S.C. 1973gg-6.
JURISDICTION AND VENUE
This Court has jurisdiction over this matter pursuant U.S.C. 1331, the
action arises under the laws the United States, and under U.S.C. 1973gg-9(b)(2), the
action seeks injunctive and declaratory relief under the NVRA.
Case: 2:12-cv-00792-EAS-TPK Doc Filed: 08/30/12 Page: PAGEID
Venue this Court proper under U.S.C. 1391(b), because substantial
part the events omissions giving rise the claim occurred this district.
PARTIES
Plaintiff Judicial Watch, Inc. Judicial Watch non-profit organization that
seeks promote integrity, transparency, and accountability government and fidelity the
rule law. Judicial Watch brings this action behalf its members who are registered
vote the State Ohio.
Plaintiff True the Vote True the Vote non-profit organization that seeks
restore truth, faith, and integrity local, state, and federal elections. True the Vote brings this
action its corporate capacity.
Defendant Jon Husted the Secretary State the State Ohio the
Secretary and has served this capacity since January 2011. Because the State Ohio has
designated the Secretary the chief State election official responsible for coordination its
responsibilities under the NVRA (see U.S.C. 1973gg-8, Plaintiffs Judicial Watch, Inc. and
True the Vote bring this action against the Secretary his official capacity.
FACTUAL BACKGROUND
Section the NVRA requires that [i]n the administration voter registration
for elections for Federal office, each State shall conduct general program that makes
reasonable effort remove the names ineligible voters from the official lists eligible voters reason (A) the death the registrant; (B) change the residence the registrant U.S.C. 1973gg-6(a)(4). Section the NVRA also mandates that any such voter list
maintenance programs activities shall uniform, nondiscriminatory, and compliance with
Case: 2:12-cv-00792-EAS-TPK Doc Filed: 08/30/12 Page: PAGEID
the Voting Rights Act 1965 (42 U.S.C. 1973 seq.), among other important protections. U.S.C. 1973gg-6(b)(1).
Section the NVRA also requires that [e]ach State shall maintain for least years and shall make available for public inspection all records concerning the
implementation programs and activities conducted for the purpose ensuring the accuracy
and currency official lists eligible voters. U.S.C. 1973gg-6(i).
The most recent and reliable, publicly-available data regarding voting age
population and voting registration, county, for the State Ohio the 2010 Decennial U.S.
Census 2010 U.S. Census released the U.S. Government beginning February 2011,
and the voter registration data provided the State Ohio the U.S. Election Assistance
Commission EAC Report for the general election held November 2010, published
June 30, 2011. The 2010 U.S. Census contains data voting age population 2010,
county, for the State Ohio. The EAC report contains data the number persons the
voter registration rolls 2010, county, the State Ohio.
10.
Based examination the data the 2010 U.S. Census and the EAC
Report, the number individuals listed voter registration rolls the following three counties the State Ohio exceeds 100% the total voting age population these counties: Auglaize,
Wood, and Morrow. (And both Auglaize and Wood, the voter registration rolls exceed 105% total voting age population.) This data demonstrating the discrepancy voter registration
rolls total voting age population each these counties constitutes prima facie evidence that
the State Ohio has failed comply with its voter list maintenance obligations under Section the NVRA.
Case: 2:12-cv-00792-EAS-TPK Doc Filed: 08/30/12 Page: PAGEID
11.
The data the 2010 U.S. Census and the EAC Report also shows that the
following thirty-one counties the State Ohio (in order highest lowest percentage) have
voter registration rolls that contain between 90% and 100% total voting age population:
Lawrence, Cuyahoga, Henry, Medina, Mahoning, Delaware, Putnam, Hancock, Fairfield,
Geauga, Van Wert, Lucas, Montgomery, Jackson, Ottawa, Stark, Hamilton, Miami, Franklin,
Gallia, Greene, Jefferson, Trumbull, Lorain, Wyandot, Athens, Harrison, Clermont, Licking,
Logan, and Erie Counties. This data further demonstrates that the State Ohio has failed
satisfy its voter list maintenance obligations under Section the NVRA.
12.
According the U.S. Census Bureau, the average rate voter
registration total voting age population during the presidential election year 2008
was 71%, yet Ohio, its counties have rate that exceeds 90%.
13.
The failure the State Ohio satisfy its voter list maintenance obligations
contributing larger, nationwide problem. According February 2012 study published
the non-partisan Pew Center for the States entitled Inaccurate, Costly, and Inefficient,
inaccurate voter registration lists are rampant across the United States. The Pew study found that
approximately million active voter registrations throughout the United States one out
every eight registrations are either longer valid are significantly inaccurate. The Pew
study also found that more than 1.8 million deceased individuals are listed active voters
nationwide, and that approximately 2.75 million people have active registrations more than
one state.
14. February 2012, Judicial Watch sent letter the Secretary notifying him
that the State Ohio was violation Section the NVRA and that, the chief State
election official the State Ohio, responsible for compliance with Section the
Case: 2:12-cv-00792-EAS-TPK Doc Filed: 08/30/12 Page: PAGEID
NVRA. The letter explained that, according 2010 U.S. Census data and publicly available
voter registration data, the number individuals registered vote three counties the State Ohio exceeds those counties total voting age population. The letter identified each the
three counties name and informed the Secretary that lawsuit may brought against him
the State Ohio did not comply with its voter list maintenance obligations under Section
the NVRA.
15.
The letter also requested that the Secretary make available for public inspection
all records concerning the implementation programs and activities conducted for the purpose ensuring the accuracy and currency official lists eligible voters the State Ohio
during the past two years, explaining that Section the NVRA required such records
made available.
16.
The Secretary, through his Chief Legal Counsel, responded writing Judicial
Watch letter March 2012, stating share your concerns about the accuracy our
voting lists and identifying Directive, issued April 18, 2011, instructing the county boards elections procedures for conducting programs remove ineligible voters from the voter
rolls due changes registrant residence. The Secretary letter did not identify any efforts the State Ohio ensure that the county boards election were following the procedures
described the nearly one-year old directive. Nor did identify any other programs
activities undertaken the State Ohio remove ineligible voters from the voter rolls due
changes registrant residence. copy the Directive was included with the letter.
17.
The Secretary letter also did not identify any programs and activities undertaken the State Ohio remove ineligible voters from the voter rolls due the death the
registrant, any efforts instruct county boards election procedures for removing
Case: 2:12-cv-00792-EAS-TPK Doc Filed: 08/30/12 Page: PAGEID
deceased registrants from the voter rolls. Nor did identify any other voter list maintenance
programs activities undertaken the State Ohio.
18. the letter, the Secretary asserted that the State Ohio efforts maintain
accurate voter rolls have been hampered the restrictions and seemingly inconsistent
provisions the NVRA and noted that had written letter U.S. Attorney General Eric
Holder discuss possible solutions, but had not received response.
19.
The only other document produced the Secretary with his letter was copy
the letter had sent Attorney General Holder, dated February 10, 2012. this letter
Attorney General Holder, the Secretary admitted that the State Ohio has not fulfilled its duty
under Section the NVRA make reasonable effort remove ineligible voters from its
voter rolls. The letter from the Secretary also acknowledged that the voter rolls for two counties the State Ohio contained more registered voters than the total voting age population those
counties.
20. the date this Complaint, further response from the Secretary his
office has been received the Plaintiffs. Nor has the Secretary produced any additional
documents regarding any other voter list maintenance programs activities undertaken the
State Ohio.
21. light the Secretary letter and the lack any further response from the
Secretary, any further efforts secure compliance with Section the NVRA would futile.
PLAINTIFF JUDICIAL WATCH
22.
Judicial Watch has approximately 9,480 members the State Ohio.
membership organization, Judicial Watch represents the interests these members, least some
Case: 2:12-cv-00792-EAS-TPK Doc Filed: 08/30/12 Page: PAGEID whom are lawfully registered vote and have the right vote the State Ohio, including
the right vote elections for federal office.
23. person becomes member Judicial Watch making financial
contribution, any amount, the organization. The financial contributions members are
far the single most important source income Judicial Watch and provide the means
which the organization finances its activities support its mission. Each Judicial Watch
9,480 members the State Ohio has made least one financial contribution Judicial
Watch over the past two years and thus helped finance the activities the organization during
this time period.
24.
Judicial Watch also solicits the views its members carrying out its activities support its mission, including the views its members the State Ohio. The views
Judicial Watch members exert significant influence over how Judicial Watch chooses the
activities which engages support its mission.
25.
Over 100 members Judicial Watch who are lawfully registered vote the
State Ohio have informed Judicial Watch that they are concerned about the State Ohio
failure satisfy its voter list maintenance obligations under Section the NVRA and wish
Judicial Watch take action their behalf protect their right vote. The views these
members were substantial factor weighing favor the initiation this lawsuit.
26.
Protecting the rights members Judicial Watch who are lawfully registered
vote the State Ohio directly germane Judicial Watch mission promoting integrity,
transparency, and accountability government and fidelity the rule law, ensuring
compliance with the voter list maintenance obligations Section the NVRA and protecting
Case: 2:12-cv-00792-EAS-TPK Doc Filed: 08/30/12 Page: PAGEID
the integrity the election process general. also well within the scope the reasons why
members Judicial Watch join the organization and continue support its mission.
27.
Members Judicial Watch who are lawfully registered vote the State
Ohio not only have the constitutional right vote elections held the State Ohio,
including elections for federal office, but they also have statutory right the safeguards and
protections set forth the NVRA, including the voter list maintenance obligations Section the NVRA.
28.
The failure the State Ohio satisfy its voter list maintenance obligations
under Section the NVRA injuring the right vote members Judicial Watch who are
lawfully registered vote the State Ohio. More specifically, burdening members
constitutional right vote undermining their confidence the integrity the electoral
process and discouraging them from voting. Because the State Ohio has failed and failing satisfy its list maintenance obligations under Section the NVRA, lawfully registered
voters, including members Judicial Watch, are being deprived any certainty that their votes
will given due weight and will not cancelled out the votes persons who are not
entitled vote and therefore are being injured.
29.
The failure the State Ohio satisfy its voter list maintenance obligations
under Section the NVRA also harming the statutory rights members Judicial Watch
who are lawfully registered vote the State Ohio. Specifically, because these members
have registered vote the State Ohio, they have statutory right vote elections for
federal office that comply with the procedures and protections required the NVRA, including
the voter list maintenance obligations set forth Section the NVRA. The State Ohio
failure satisfy its voter list maintenance obligations under Section the NVRA therefore
Case: 2:12-cv-00792-EAS-TPK Doc Filed: 08/30/12 Page: PAGEID
injuring the statutory rights members Judicial Watch who are lawfully registered vote
the State Ohio.
30.
Absent action Judicial Watch, unlikely that any individual member
Judicial Watch who lawfully registered vote the State Ohio would have the ability
the resources take action protect his her rights redress his her injuries with respect the State Ohio failure satisfy its voter list maintenance obligations under Section
the NVRA.
PLAINTIFF TRUE THE VOTE
31.
True the Vote regularly obtains official lists registered voters from States
across the nation, including the State Ohio, and uses these lists conduct programs
furtherance True the Vote mission restoring truth, faith, and integrity local, state, and
federal elections. Because True the Vote makes use these lists conducting its various
programs, relies States, including the State Ohio, provide lists that are reasonably
accurate and current and reasonably maintained.
32.
One such program True the Vote seeks analyze and verify official lists
registered voters and detect errors those lists. More specifically, True the Vote trains
volunteers review voter lists and compare those lists other publically available data.
When volunteer identifies registrations that appear duplicates registrations persons
who are deceased, have relocated, otherwise are ineligible vote particular jurisdiction,
those registrations are flagged and complaints are filed with appropriate elections officials. The
goal this particular program improve the accuracy and currency voter lists above and
beyond the minimum requirements the law. This program among the largest, not the
Case: 2:12-cv-00792-EAS-TPK Doc Filed: 08/30/12 Page: PAGEID
largest, all True the Vote various programs and essential, integral part True the
Vote mission.
33. part its voter list verification program, True the Vote obtained voter lists
from the State Ohio, recruited and trained volunteers analyze and verify these lists, and
began the process analyzing and verifying them.
34.
The failure the State Ohio satisfy its voter list maintenance obligations
under Section the NVRA has injured and injuring True the Vote. Because the State
Ohio has failed satisfy its voter list maintenance obligations, the voter lists that True the Vote
obtained from the State Ohio are inaccurate and out date, making more difficult for True
the Vote use these lists furtherance its mission than would have been the State
Ohio had satisfied its voter list maintenance obligations under Section the NVRA. True the
Vote has suffered injury result.
35. addition, the failure the State Ohio satisfy its voter list maintenance
obligations under Section the NVRA has injured and injuring True the Vote impairing
True the Vote ability achieve essential, integral part its mission, namely, its voter list
verification program. True the Vote voter list verification program relies the States
conduct the reasonable voter list maintenance programs and activities required Section
the NVRA. The goal True the Vote voter list verification program improve the
accuracy and currency voter lists above and beyond the minimum requirements the law.
True the Vote non-for-profit, volunteer efforts supplement the voter list maintenance programs
and activities required the States under Section the NVRA, but cannot duplicate
replace the States taxpayer-funded voter list maintenance programs and activities. Because the
State Ohio has failed satisfy its voter list maintenance obligations under Section the
Case: 2:12-cv-00792-EAS-TPK Doc Filed: 08/30/12 Page: PAGEID
NVRA, True the Vote impaired its ability carry out its voter list verification program
successfully the State Ohio and injured result.
36.
Moreover, the State Ohio failure satisfy its voter list maintenance
obligations under Section the NVRA also has injured and injuring True the Vote
causing divert resources away from other programs order devote those same resources its voter list verification program. For example, among its various programs restore
election integrity, True the Vote trains and mobilizes volunteers work election monitors. part this program, True the Vote creates instructional videos recruit election monitors,
holds training sessions and produces reference guides educate election monitors, and directs
volunteers who wish serve election monitors appropriate channels. Because the State
Ohio failed satisfy its voter list maintenance obligations under Section the NVRA, True
the Vote has had expend less its scarce resources programs such its election
monitoring program order expend more resources its voter list verification program.
37. August 10, 2012, True the Vote has expended over 150 hours
organizational time training volunteers analyze and verify the voter lists that True the Vote
obtained from the State Ohio for True the Vote voter list verification program. this
same date, True the Vote has only expended approximately hours support its election
monitoring program the State Ohio. True the Vote estimates that, due the failure the
State Ohio satisfy its voter list maintenance obligations under Section the NVRA, has
diverted approximately 100 hours organizational time away from its election monitoring
program order devote those same scarce resources its voter list verification program,
causing injury True the Vote result.
Case: 2:12-cv-00792-EAS-TPK Doc Filed: 08/30/12 Page: PAGEID
CLAIM FOR RELIEF
(Violation the NVRA: Failure Conduct List Maintenance)
38.
Plaintiffs reallege paragraphs through fully stated herein.
39.
Defendant has failed fulfill the State obligation make reasonable efforts
remove the names ineligible voters from Ohio voter registration rolls, violation Section NVRA (42 U.S.C. 1973gg-6).
40.
Plaintiff True the Vote and members Plaintiff Judicial Watch have suffered
irreparable injury direct result Defendant failure fulfill the State Ohio obligation make reasonable efforts remove the names ineligible voters from Ohio voter
registration rolls violation Section the NVRA.
41.
Plaintiff True the Vote and members Plaintiff Judicial Watch will continue
suffer irreparable injury Defendant failure fulfill the State Ohio obligation make
reasonable efforts remove the names ineligible voters from Ohio voter registration rolls
violation Section the NVRA unless and until Defendant enjoined from continuing
violate the law.
42.
Plaintiff True the Vote and members Plaintiff Judicial Watch have adequate
remedy law.
Case: 2:12-cv-00792-EAS-TPK Doc Filed: 08/30/12 Page: PAGEID
PRAYER FOR RELIEF
WHEREFORE, Plaintiffs pray for entry judgment:
Declaring Defendant violation Section the NVRA;
Enjoining Defendant from failing refusing comply with the voter list
maintenance obligations Section the NVRA the future;
Ordering Defendant pay Plaintiffs reasonable attorney fees, including
litigation expenses and costs, pursuant U.S.C. 1973gg-9(c); and
Granting Plaintiffs any and all further relief that this Court deems just and proper.
Dated: August 30, 2012
Respectfully submitted,
Paul Orfanedes*
Chris Fedeli*
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC.
425 Third Street S.W., Ste. 800
Washington, 20024
Tel: (202) 646-5172
Fax: (202) 646-5199
Email: porfanedes@judicialwatch.org
cfedeli@judicialwatch.org Counsel: Christian Adams
ELECTION LAW CENTER, PLLC
300 Washington Street, Ste. 405
Alexandria, 22314
/s/ David Langdon
David Langdon (OH Bar No. 0067046)
Trial Attorney
Joshua Bolinger (OH Bar No. 0079594)
LANGDON LAW LLC
8913 Cincinnati-Dayton Rd.
West Chester, Ohio 45069
Tel: (513) 577-7380
Fax: (513) 577-7383
Email: dlangdon@langdonlaw.com
jbolinger@langdonlaw.com
Attorneys for Plaintiffs
*pending admission pro vac vice