Culling Voter Rolls: Battling Over Who Even Gets to Go to the Polls
The Public Interest Legal Foundation is one of four conservative advocacy groups that have pursued often-overlapping campaigns to purge voter rolls. Three of the groups — the foundation, Judicial Watch and the American Civil Rights Union — rely on former lawyers in the Justice Department’s civil rights division during the George W. Bush administration. The fourth, True the Vote, is an offshoot of a Tea Party group based in Houston.
The groups argue that election officials are ignoring a requirement in the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 that a “reasonable effort” be made to cull ineligible voters — the dead, people who have moved, noncitizens and felons whose voting rights are restricted.
Robert Popper, a former Justice Department lawyer now at Judicial Watch, suggested that the groups’ critics are the ones playing politics. The Voter Registration Act both expands voter registration opportunities and requires that the rolls be culled, he said. While the Obama administration’s Justice Department vigorously enforced the voter registration requirements, he said, the last lawsuit enforcing the culling mandate was litigated in 2007 — by him.