Judicial Watch and True the Vote Sue Ohio to Force Clean Up of Voting Rolls
AUGUST 30, 2012
Ohio Has Failed to Maintain Clean Voter Registration Lists
Voter Registration Rolls in 3 Ohio Counties Exceed 100% of Total Voting Population – Lawsuit Alleges State in Violation of National Voter Registration Act
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it filed a lawsuit in partnership with True the Vote against election officials in the State of Ohio, alleging violations of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted and Ohio election officials have failed to take reasonable steps to maintain clean voter registration lists as required by Section 8 of the NVRA (Judicial Watch and True the Vote v. Jon Husted in his official capacity as Secretary of State of the State of Ohio, Civil Action (No. 2:12-cv-00792))
On February 6, 2012, Judicial Watch sent a letter to Ohio Secretary Jon Husted notifying him that the State of Ohio was in violation of Section 8 of the NVRA and that, as the chief State election official in the State of Ohio, he is responsible for Ohio’s compliance with Section 8 of the NVRA. Based upon an analysis of U.S. Census and other data, Judicial Watch found that the number of persons listed on voter registration rolls in three counties in the State of Ohio exceeded 100% of the total voting age population. (Judicial Watch also noted that 31 other Ohio counties contained registration rolls that contain between 90% and 100% of total voting age population. Typically, only 71% of eligible voters register to vote.
On March 2, 2012, the Secretary, through his Chief Legal Counsel, responded to Judicial Watch’s February 6, 2012, letter indicating that Secretary Husted and his office “share your concerns about the accuracy of our voting lists.” The letter pointed to a directive issued on April 18, 2011, to remove ineligible voters from the list due to change of address, but failed to mention a single initiative undertaken to comply with the directive. Moreover, the response failed to reference a single initiative by the State of Ohio to removed deceased or otherwise ineligible voters from voting lists.
In the March 2, 2012, response, the Secretary asserted that the State of Ohio’s efforts to maintain accurate voter rolls “have been hampered . . . by the restrictions and seemingly inconsistent provisions of the NVRA” and noted that he had written a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder “to discuss possible solutions,” but had not received a response.
According to Judicial Watch’s lawsuit: “The March 2, 2012, response, the lack of any further response, and the failure to produce any additional documents regarding any other voter list maintenance programs or activities undertaken by the State of Ohio confirms that the State of Ohio has failed to satisfy its voter list maintenance obligations under Section 8 of the NVRA.”
Judicial Watch is asking the court to force the State of Ohio to manage its lists in a manner consistent with the NRVA.
“To date, we have been given no signal that voter rolls are being properly maintained across the state, which only further inhibits our ability to research more flagrant forms of fraud. If we can’t assure the public that even the most basic principles of federal election law are being upheld, faith in our voting system can become irrevocably shaken,” said True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht.
“Election officials in the State of Ohio are shirking their responsibility to maintain clean voter registration lists. Dirty election rolls can lead to voter and election fraud. Ohio’s voting rolls are a mess and we hope a court will require that they be cleaned up prior to Election Day,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton
The new lawsuit details how poorly maintained voter registration lists are a nationwide problem: “According to research conducted by the Center for the States of the non-partisan Pew Charitable Trusts (Pew) 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, California, and Colorado. 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. Judicial Watch filed a separate lawsuit against the State of Indiana related to its dirty voter registration lists as well.
Judicial Watch is partnering with True the Vote and the Election Law Center’s J. Christian Adams, who previously served in the voting rights section of the Department of Justice (DOJ), on a nationwide campaign to ensure the integrity of the 2012 elections. The groups are also represented in Ohio by the law firm Langdon Law LLC.
Judicial Watch has also uncovered documents showing that the Obama DOJ has also been partnering with the ACORN-connected Project Vote – President Obama’s former employer – to use the NVRA in order to increase voter registrations for those on public assistance, which is a key Obama voter demographic, while ignoring a stipulation in the NVRA that requires states to keep voter registration lists clean. The DOJ has also filed lawsuits against states that attempt to enforce Voter ID laws and other measures