2012 Election Integrity Project: Judicial Watch Announces Legal Campaign to Force Clean Up of Voter Registration Rolls
FEBRUARY 09, 2012
Dozen States in Potential Violation of National Voter Registration Act: Voting Rolls Have More Registered Voters than Voting-Age Population
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch, the organization that investigates and fights government corruption, announced the launch of its 2012 Election Integrity Project to pressure states and localities, through Judicial Watch lawsuits if necessary, to clean up voter registration rolls pursuant to Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). A Judicial Watch investigation based upon publicly available data indicates voter rolls in the following states appear to contain the names of individuals who are ineligible to vote: Mississippi, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Florida, Alabama, California, and Colorado. The Election Integrity Project will be conducted in partnership with True the Vote and the Election Law Center.
Judicial Watch sent its initial warning letters on February 7, 2012, to election officials in Indiana and Ohio, as well as letters of inquiry to Florida and California officials, investigating problematic voting lists in those states. Additional letters are forthcoming.
According to Judicial Watch’s investigation, there appear to be more individuals on voter registration lists in these states than there are individuals eligible to vote, including individuals who are deceased. Judicial Watch’s initial warning letters notified election officials in Ohio and Indiana that they are required by law to “maintain accurate lists of eligible voters for use in conducting elections,” and that Judicial Watch is prepared to take legal action if election officials fail to clean up their voter rolls:
Allowing the names of ineligible voters to remain on the voting rolls harms the integrity of the electoral process and undermines voter confidence in the legitimacy of elections… As the top election officials… it is your responsibility under federal law to conduct a program that reasonably ensures that the lists of eligible voters are accurate…
We hope our concerns can be resolved amicably. However, with the November 2012 election on the horizon and in light of the importance of Section 8 of the NVRA to ensuring the integrity and legitimacy of the electoral process, we must emphasize the importance of timeliness. Accordingly, if we believe you do not intend to correct the above-identified problems, a lawsuit seeking declaratory and injunctive relief may be necessary.
As Judicial Watch makes clear in its letters, under Section 8 of the NVRA, states must make a “reasonable effort” to clean up registration rolls. Section 8 also requires states to make available for public inspection “all records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters.”
Election fraud was a significant concern during the 2008 and 2010 election seasons, with ACORN/Project Vote being linked to massive voter registration fraud. A total of 70 ACORN employees in 12 states have been convicted of voter registration fraud. As documented in a July 2009 report by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, of the 1.3 million registrations Project Vote/ACORN submitted in the 2008 election cycle, more than one-third were invalid.
Judicial Watch has uncovered documents showing that, rather than taking action to enforce Section 8 of the NVRA, the Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) is now working with ACORN-front Project Vote, Barack Obama’s former employer, to push for strict enforcement of Section 7 of the NVRA relating to welfare office voter registration obligations. The purpose of this campaign is evidently to use voter registration laws to register greater numbers of low-income voters, widely considered to be an important voting demographic for the Obama presidential campaign.
Policy changes prompted by stricter enforcement of Section 7 have resulted in increased incidents of voter registration errors. For example, a separate Judicial Watch investigation found that the percentage of invalid voter registration forms from Colorado public assistance agencies was four times the national average after Project Vote successfully forced the state to implement new policies for increasing the registration of public assistance recipients during the 2008 and 2010 election seasons.
Judicial Watch notes in its letters that while Attorney General Eric Holder appears intent on enforcing Section 7 of the NVRA, which will yield an increased risk of voter fraud, he apparently has no interest in enforcing Section 8 to ensure clean elections: “While you may be aware that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has prioritized enforcement of Section 7 of the NVRA, which seeks to expand opportunities to register to vote, the Attorney General has not demonstrated any similar interest in prioritizing enforcement of the list maintenance provisions of Section 8 of the NVRA. Nonetheless, Section 8 is an important counterpart to Section 7. The two provisions represent a carefully crafted compromise by the U.S. Congress to increase both voter registration and the integrity of voter rolls.”
“President Obama and the Holder Justice Department evidently have no interest in clean elections this year, so this responsibility has now fallen to Judicial Watch. And given the rampant election fraud that occurred during the last two election cycles, this is a matter of the highest priority as we head into the 2012 election season. It is simply impossible to have any faith in the integrity of an election where dead people remain on the voting rolls. This is a recipe for voter fraud and stolen elections,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton.
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