Kentucky’s Former Democrat Secretary of State Allowed ‘Inactive Registrations’ to Remain on Voter Rolls in Violation of Federal Court Consent Decree
Judge Extends Consent Decree beyond Another Federal Election
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky agreed with Judicial Watch that Kentucky’s former Democrat Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes breached the terms of a National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) Consent Judgment with Judicial Watch by delaying sending out voter notices, which allowed the names of people who have died or moved away to remain on the Commonwealth’s voter rolls. As a result of the breach, District Court Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove extended the judgement beyond its termination date from October 31, 2023, to March 31, 2025, which allows it to encompass one additional federal election. Kentucky is set to remove over 250,000 names from the voter rolls under the terms of the consent judgement.
By breaching the court’s decree and delaying sending out voter notices before a critical deadline, Kentucky allowed outdated registrations to remain on the rolls through the 2022 midterm federal elections, two years longer than Kentucky agreed to in the original judgment.
This latest court ruling comes in Judicial Watch’s 2017 lawsuit under the NVRA (Judicial Watch, Inc. and the United States of America v. Alison Lundergan Grimes, et al. (No. 3:17-cv-00094)). (The original defendant has since been replaced by Michael Adams, the new secretary of state elected in November 2019.) In June 2018, with Judicial Watch’s agreement, the Justice Department moved to intervene in the lawsuit against Kentucky.
The court agreed with Judicial Watch that “the initial Defendants breached the Consent Judgment” by failing to send address notices in time:
Since [the secretary of state’s office] failed to follow up with the [lawfully required] notices … registrations belonging to those with a change of address cannot be cancelled after the November 2020 election. … Therefore, this inaction delayed Kentucky’s progress toward “ensuring an accurate and current voter registration” list, one of the main purposes of the NVRA and Consent Judgment.
For years prior to entering into the Consent Judgment, Kentucky had been in violation of the NVRA’s requirement to keep its voter rolls up to date, which forced Judicial Watch to file its lawsuit to bring the Bluegrass State into compliance with the law. Judicial Watch’s lawsuit against Kentucky alleged that 48 counties had more registered voters than citizens over the age of 18. The suit noted that Kentucky was then one of only three states in which the statewide active registration rate was greater than 100% of the age-eligible citizen population.
[T]he practices currently in place in Kentucky do not comply with the NVRA’s requirement that states conduct a general voter registration list maintenance program that makes a reasonable effort to remove ineligible persons from the voter rolls due to a change in residence outside of the jurisdiction …
“Why would a leftist secretary of state purposefully act to allow ineligible names to remain on Kentucky’s voting rolls in violation of a federal court’s consent decree?” asked Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Dirty voting rolls make it easier to steal elections, which is why Judicial Watch’s litigation to clean up rolls across America is urgent.”
Judicial Watch is a national leader for cleaner elections.
In October 2020, Judicial Watch revealed a study showing 353 U.S. counties had 1.8 million more registered voters than eligible voting-age citizens. In other words, the registration rates of those counties exceeded 100% of eligible voters. The study found eight states showing state-wide registration rates exceeding 100%: Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont.
In October 2020, Judicial Watch sued Colorado to force the state to clean up its voter rolls. The lawsuit was filed on behalf of itself and three residents of Colorado against Jena Griswold, Colorado Secretary of State, and the State of Colorado for failing to clean the state’s voter rolls as required by the NVRA.
In September 2020, Judicial Watch sued Illinois on behalf of the Illinois Conservative Union and three of its members for refusing to disclose voter roll data in violation of Federal law.
In April 2020, Judicial Watch sued North Carolina for failing to clean its voter rolls.
In April 2020, Judicial Watch sued Pennsylvania for failing to make reasonable efforts to remove ineligible voters from their rolls as required by the NVRA.
Also in April 2020, a federal court ordered the State of Maryland to produce the voter list for Montgomery County that includes the registered voters’ date of birth.
In 2019, California settled a NVRA lawsuit with Judicial Watch and began the process of removing up to 1.6 million inactive names from Los Angeles County’s voter rolls.
In 2018, the Supreme Court upheld a voter-roll cleanup program that resulted from a Judicial Watch settlement of a federal lawsuit with Ohio.
Judicial Watch Attorney Robert Popper is the director of Judicial Watch’s clean elections initiative.