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Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

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Tom Fitton's Judicial Watch Weekly Update

Election Integrity SUCCESS!

Illinois Settles Lawsuit, Agrees to Make Voter Registration List Information Public
BREAKING: Judicial Watch Sues for Records on Secret Service Protection for Unacknowledged Granddaughter of Joe Biden
Millions More to Recruit Minorities for Jobless Benefits Amid Low Unemployment

 

Illinois Settles Lawsuit, Agrees to Make Voter Registration List Information Public

We continue our success in ensuring cleaner elections.

Judicial Watch settled a federal election integrity lawsuit on behalf of the Illinois Conservative Union against the state of Illinois, the Illinois State Board of Elections, and its director. The settlement grants access to the current centralized statewide list of registered voters in the state for the past 15 elections.

This is a victory for all legal voters in Illinois. Voters will now have the transparency that federal law requires in order to ensure elections in Illinois are more honest and cleaner. Clean voter rolls mean cleaner elections.

State officials had refused to allow the nonprofit and three lawfully registered Illinois voters to obtain a copy of the state’s voter registration list, despite their lawful request for those records under federal law.

The State Board allowed access to the records but made any meaningful review impossible, requiring the plaintiffs to travel to Springfield, Illinois during limited working hours and review Illinois’ millions of voter records one at a time on a computer terminal, with no ability to sort or organize records.

We filed the lawsuit in the United States District Court in the Northern District of Illinois (Illinois Conservative Union et al v. Illinois et al. (No. 1:20-cv-05542)).

The settlement was approved by U.S. District Judge Sara L. Ellis, and states:

Pursuant to this Agreement, Defendants shall provide to Plaintiffs the current centralized statewide list of registered voters for Illinois (the “Illinois Voter Registration List”) in electronic format, with all fields provided to political committees, including but not limited to fields indicating the registrant’s full name … residential street address … email address … telephone number, county and state voter identification number, age of the registrant, and the registrant’s status (active or inactive) and the most recent date the entry was changed, and voting history for the last fifteen (15) elections.

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) provides that states “shall make available for public inspection and, where available, photocopying at a reasonable cost, 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.”

When members of the Illinois Conservative Union sought access to Illinois’ voter list, however, they were told they must view the database one record at a time, on a single computer screen, during “normal business hours,” at the State Board of Elections office in Springfield, Illinois, which is 200 miles from where they live. There are over 8 million voter registrations in Illinois. Judicial Watch argued that Illinois’ arbitrary restrictions “make a mockery” of federal law, “as much as a requirement that Plaintiffs wear blindfolds.”

In 2021, Judge Ellis ruled on a motion in the case that, “Plaintiffs have plausibly alleged that” Illinois law “conflicts with” and “and frustrates the NVRA’s purpose of providing voter information to the public to help ensure the accuracy and currency of voter registration rolls.” She also allowed a claim to proceed under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, on the ground that political committees in Illinois can access copies of the voter registration database while ordinary citizens cannot. The claims were made against Illinois’ chief state elections official, Bernadette Matthews, the Acting Executive Director of the Illinois State Board of Elections.

A forthcoming Judicial Watch study, based on recent census data and information Illinois reported to the federal Election Assistance Commission, reveals that 14% of Illinois’ counties have more registered voters than citizens over 18, while Illinois as a whole has close to 800,000 inactive registrants.

As several federal courts have recognized, the public records provisions of the National Voter Registration Act were intended to enhance the ability of private groups to monitor whether states are removing ineligible voters from their voter rolls. In April 2020, a federal court in Maryland noted that organizations “such as Judicial Watch” have “the resources and expertise that few individuals can marshal. By excluding these organizations from access to voter registration lists,” the purpose of the federal law is undermined. That court ordered Maryland to produce complete voter registration records requested by Judicial Watch.

As you know, we are a national leader in voting integrity and voting rights. As part of its work, Judicial Watch assembled a team of highly experienced voting rights attorneys who stopped discriminatory elections in Hawaii, and cleaned up voter rolls in California, Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, among other achievements.

Robert Popper, a Judicial Watch senior attorney, leads its election law program. Popper was previously in the Voting Section of the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, where he managed voting rights investigations, litigations, consent decrees, and settlements in dozens of states.

In April 2023, Pennsylvania settled with us and admitted in court filings that it removed 178,258 ineligible registrations in response to communications from Judicial Watch. The settlement commits Pennsylvania and five of its counties to extensive public reporting of statistics regarding their ongoing voter roll clean-up efforts for the next five years.

In March 2023, Colorado agreed to settle our NVRA lawsuit alleging that Colorado failed to remove ineligible voters from its rolls. The settlement agreement requires Colorado to provide Judicial Watch with the most recent voter roll data for each Colorado county each year for six years.

In February 2023, Los Angeles County confirmed the removal of 1,207,613 ineligible voters from its rolls since last year, under the terms of a settlement agreement in a federal lawsuit we filed in 2017.

We settled a federal election integrity lawsuit against New York City after the city removed 441,083 ineligible names from the voter rolls and promised to take reasonable steps going forward to clean its voter registration lists.

Kentucky also removed hundreds of thousands of old registrations after it entered into a consent decree to end another Judicial Watch lawsuit.

In February 2022, we settled a voter roll clean-up lawsuit against North Carolina and two of its counties after North Carolina removed over 430,000 inactive registrations from its voter rolls.

In March 2022, a Maryland court ruled in favor of our challenge to the Democratic state legislature’s “extreme” congressional gerrymander.

In May 2022, we sued Illinois on behalf of Congressman Mike Bost and two other registered Illinois voters to stop state election officials from extending Election Day for 14 days beyond the date established by federal law. This litigation is ongoing.

There is more work to be done and Judicial Watch will continue to do the heavy lifting to help ensure our elections are fair and honest.

 

BREAKING: Judicial Watch Sues for Records on Secret Service Protection for Unacknowledged Granddaughter of Joe Biden

The family of the president of the United States obviously has special security needs, provided first and foremost by the Secret Service. So, when a Biden family member evidently has no protection, it is an issue of public concern. Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) for all internal Secret Service communications regarding the provision or potential provision of Secret Service protection for Navy Joan Roberts, the 4-year-old daughter of Hunter Biden and grandchild of President Joe Biden (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Homeland Security (No. 1:23-cv-02028)).

On its website, the Secret Service states that, under Title 18 of the United States Code, Section 3056, the agency’s authority as provided by law guarantees protection for the president and vice president and their immediate families.

However, on June 6, 2022, the Daily Mail reported that President Biden refused to provide security for Navy Joan after her mother, Lunden Roberts, reported to police that she had been threatened by her ex-fiancé, cage fighter Princeton Foster.

We filed a FOIA request on May 2, 2023. On June 12, 2023, the Secret Service issued a final response stating that no responsive records had been located. We appealed, challenging the thoroughness of the search. We then sued after the Secret Service failed to respond to the appeal for:

All reports, memoranda, and internal USSS electronic communications, including emails and text messages, regarding the provision or potential provision of USSS protection to Navy Joan Roberts, the daughter of Hunter Biden and granddaughter of President Joe Biden.

Hunter Biden had denied paternity, but a DNA test in 2019 proved he is in fact the father of Navy Joan Roberts and he has been providing significant court-ordered child support

President Biden has never publicly acknowledged that Navy Joan Roberts is his grandchild. The New York Timesreported earlier this month: “In strategy meetings in recent years, aides have been told that the Bidens have six, not seven, grandchildren, according to two people familiar with the discussions…the president has not yet met or publicly mentioned his other grandchild. His White House has not answered questions about whether he will publicly acknowledge her now that the child support case is settled.”

All of Joe Biden’s grandchildren can receive Secret Service protection while he’s in office. We frankly can’t imagine any good reason to deny security to this child.

 

Millions More to Recruit Minorities for Jobless Benefits Amid Low Unemployment

Bureaucracies never give up when it comes to spending your tax dollars. As our Corruption Chronicles blog reports, President Biden’s Labor Department is on another crusade to spend more tax dollars:

U.S. unemployment is low and stable, yet the Biden administration keeps giving states millions of dollars to boost the number of minorities—especially non-English speaking or limited-English proficient—that sign up for government jobless benefits. The goal is to address racial disparities and promote “equitable access” to the program. The money—an unprecedented $260 million—started flowing in early spring of 2022 to advance equity in state unemployment insurance. COVID-19 inspired the controversial project, according to the Department of Labor (DOL), the agency disbursing the funds. “Throughout the pandemic, disparities in access to benefits affected women, communities of color and other marginalized workers at a higher rate and often delayed delivery of much needed financial support and services,” the DOL announced last spring. “These disparities in access to unemployment insurance exposed serious real-world shortcomings in the outdated systems used to deliver state and territories unemployment insurance benefits.”

Specifically, the Biden administration aims to address disparities in the administration and delivery of unemployment benefits by race, ethnicity, language proficiency and disability status. To accomplish it, the DOL has directed states to use the taxpayer dollars to “support innovative strategies and solutions to promote equitable access” to unemployment compensation. “This includes funding that will increase public awareness of the program so more people apply, improve service delivery so claimants receive their first benefits in a timely manner and develop a better understanding of the equity challenges that need to be addressed,” the labor agency revealed last year. State officials can also use a portion of their grant to evaluate the effectiveness of programs they create with the federal funds. “To become a more robust safety net and economic stabilizer, our unemployment insurance system must serve all workers fairly and equitably,” Labor Secretary Marty Walsh declared.

The initial allocation of $20 million was split between three states—Oregon, Pennsylvania and Virginia—and the District of Columbia. Since then, the DOL has approved equity grants for 41 states and jurisdictions, a recent agency filing reveals. The document says that projects target a “wide range of underserved populations,” but identifies the top three as non-English or limited-English proficient, people with disabilities and low-income claimants with economic hardships. “States are continuing to use a diverse slate of strategies to promote equitable access to unemployment compensation programs,” the DOL writes. “Improving services to claimants and expanding access to services by improving technology or implementing new technology are primary areas of focus for most projects, with a core theme of resolving access barriers for underserved populations.” Some states are creating “customer outreach plans” that incorporate community-based groups representing the underserved populations.

Even though unemployment remains low, a few days ago the administration allocated an additional $9.5 million to sign up more minorities for unemployment benefits. The latest equity grants will go to Arkansas, Louisiana and Vermont so officials can implement projects that seek to remove barriers related to race, age, ethnicity, language proficiency and other system issues that make it difficult for people to access unemployment insurance benefits. Arkansas will get the biggest chunk, $4,562,000, with Louisiana receiving $2,661,616 and Vermont $2,283,000 to expand outreach, promote awareness, provide translation services and address disadvantaged communities’ other needs, according to the DOL. Not that long ago, the administration bragged about the record low unemployment rate among minorities, specifically black (5.4%) and Hispanic (4.5%) populations.

The minority unemployment benefit drive is part of a larger Biden administration effort to advance racial equity and support for underserved communities through the federal government. The costly initiative was launched back in January 2021 when the president issued an executive order claiming that “entrenched disparities” in laws, public policies, and private institutions have denied equal opportunity to individuals and communities and that the health and climate crises have exposed inequities while a “historic movement for justice has highlighted the unbearable human costs of systemic racism.” Following the order, Uncle Sam started cutting checks for the initiative and assigning special equity chiefs and commissions at agencies throughout the government.

Until next week,


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