Judicial Watch and True the Vote Sue Indiana Election Officials for Violations of National Voter Registration Act
JUNE 11, 2012
Indiana Election Officials Have Failed to Maintain Clean Voter Registration Lists
Voter Registration Rolls in 12 Indiana Counties Exceed 100% of Total Voting-Age Population
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch, the public interest group that investigates and fights government corruption, announced that it filed a lawsuit (Judicial Watch, et. al v. King, et. al (1:12-cv-00800)) in partnership with True the Vote against election officials in the State of Indiana alleging violations of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). Specifically the lawsuit alleges that Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson and Indiana Elections Division Co-Directors J. Bradley King and Trent Deckard have failed to maintain clean voter registration lists and make records related to voter registration list maintenance available as required by Section 8 of the NVRA. (Judicial Watch’s co-plaintiff, True the Vote, is a grassroots election integrity watchdog.)
According to the lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division:
Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief to compel Defendants’ compliance with Section 8 of the NVRA. Specifically, Defendants have violated Section 8 by failing to make a reasonable effort to conduct voter list maintenance programs in elections for Federal office and by failing to produce records related to those efforts, as required by Section 8. Plaintiffs thus seek a declaration and an injunction requiring Defendants to conduct and execute voter list maintenance programs in a manner that is consistent with federal law and further requiring Defendants to produce records about its list maintenance efforts.
In 2006, the federal government sued election officials in Indiana and forced the state to take measures to comply with the voter list maintenance under the NVRA. However, the remedies enacted by the state under a consent decree proved to be temporary. Based upon Judicial Watch’s analysis of publicly available data for the November 2010 general election, the number of persons listed on voter registration rolls in 12 counties in the State of Indiana exceeds 100% of the total voting-age population in those counties.
On February 6, 2012, Judicial Watch notified election officials in Indiana that the state is in violation of the NVRA. The February 6, 2012, letter also requested that the State of Indiana 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, per Section 8 of the NVRA.
The State of Indiana responded by issuing an order formally denying what they characterized as a “grievance or complaint,” without explanation. No records have been made available responsive to Judicial Watch’s request, also prompting the lawsuit.
A recent report by non-partisan Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew) found that inaccurate voter registrations are rampant. Pew’s independent research published in February 2012 indicates that approximately 24 million active voter registrations throughout the United States – or one out of every eight registrations – are either no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate.
According to a Judicial Watch investigation 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, and California. As part of its 2012 Election Integrity Project, Judicial Watch has put these states on notice that they must clean up their voter registration lists or face Judicial Watch lawsuits.
The Obama Justice Department has failed to enforce Section 8 the NVRA in court, having last filed a lawsuit to enforce voter list maintenance requirements of the NVRA in 2007. The current DOJ it is now opposing Florida’s Section 8 efforts to remove non-citizens from the voting rolls.
“Indiana’s election officials are shirking their responsibility to maintain clean voter registration lists. The citizens of Indiana should be outraged by the indifferent attitude their election officials have taken with respect to the National Voter Registration Act and to clean elections,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “This is our first lawsuit. We plan to sue other states who failed to take reasonable steps to remove dead and ineligible voters from the rolls.”
“This lawsuit is a historic step in restoring integrity to the American system of electing its leaders,” stated True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht. “Dirty election rolls can lead to election fraud and stolen elections.”
Judicial Watch uncovered documents showing that the Obama DOJ is partnering with the ACORN-connected Project Vote, President Obama’s former employer, to use the NVRA to increase voter registrations for those on public assistance, which is a key Obama voter demographic, while ignoring NVRA’s Section 8 requirements for states to keep voter registration lists clean. The Justice Department has also filed lawsuits against states over voter ID laws and other measures intended to foster election integrity.
Judicial Watch is partnering with the Election Law Center’s J. Christian Adams, who previously served in the voting rights section of the Department of Justice, on its nationwide campaign to ensure the integrity of the 2012 elections.