Judicial Watch and True the Vote Seek to Defend Florida’s Efforts to Clean Voter Registration Lists in Obama Administration Lawsuit
JUNE 26, 2012
Grassroots Public Interest Groups Seek Court Permission to Intervene to Defend Florida Clean-up Efforts: ‘…not only are the State of Florida’s list maintenance activities valid, proper, and timely, but… they are also required under federal law.’
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and fights government corruption, announced today that it has filed a Motion for Intervention with its client True the Vote to defend the State of Florida’s efforts to clean up voter registration lists against an Obama administration lawsuit (The United States of America v. State of Florida and Ken Detzner (No. 4:12-cv-285)).
Florida initiated a systematic effort to remove ineligible voters from its voter registration lists after Judicial Watch filed a letter of inquiry with Florida election officials on February 6, 2012.
Judicial Watch alerted the State of Florida that failure to maintain clean voter registration lists violates Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). In response to Florida’s efforts to comply with the NVRA, the Obama administration filed a lawsuit on June 12, 2012, asking a federal court to enjoin the state from continuing its purge of illegal voters.
According to Judicial Watch’s motion, filed jointly with Judicial Watch client True the Vote on June 26, 2012, with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Tallahassee Division:
[Judicial Watch and True the Vote] seek to enter this lawsuit in order to demonstrate that, not only are the State of Florida’s list maintenance activities valid, proper, and timely, but that they also are required under federal law. Intervention will ensure that the organizational interests of Proposed Intervener True the Vote and the rights and interest of the members of Proposed Intervener Judicial Watch, Inc. are adequately protected and preserved.
As reported by The Associated Press, the State of Florida ordered the removal of 53,000 dead voters from its lists while identifying an additional 2,700 non-citizens registered to vote. Press reports suggest the number of non-citizen voters in the state could be as high as 180,000.
Judicial Watch’s actions in Florida are part of its 2012 Election Integrity Project. According to a comprehensive Judicial Watch investigation, in addition to Florida and Indiana, a number of other states also appear to have problems with inaccurate voter registration lists, including: Mississippi, Iowa, Missouri, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Alabama, and California. Judicial Watch has put election officials on notice in these states that they must maintain accurate voter registration lists consistent with Section 8 of the NVRA or face litigation to enforce the federal law.
On June 11, 2012, Judicial Watch (along with co-plaintiff True the Vote) filed a federal lawsuit against the State of Indiana for failure to comply with voter list maintenance provisions of the NVRA. J. Christian Adams, a former civil rights attorney with the Department of Justice, is of counsel to the groups on these legal actions. The groups are also represented in Florida by the firm, Radey, Thomas, Yon & Clark.
“The Obama Justice Department is evidently hostile to the idea of clean and fair elections,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “It is shameful that the Justice Department is now in court trying to stop Florida from fulfilling its legal obligation to remove non-citizen, ineligible voters from the voting rolls. We look forward to defending the voting rights of our supporters, the rule of law, and election integrity from an unprecedented attack from this politicized Justice Department.”
“According to polls, most Americans agree that Florida should be making efforts to ensure people who are not eligible to vote are kept off of the voter registration rolls. Not only is this common sense, it is what the law requires. It’s disappointing that the Justice Department is more interested in taking extreme legal positions than protecting the integrity of the 2012 elections,” said True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht.
A recent report by non-partisan Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew) published in February 2012 indicates that approximately 24 million active voter registrations in states across the country – or one out of every eight registrations – are either no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate.