Weekly Update: Big Win For Clean Elections
JULY 20, 2018
Victory: Consent Decree Requires Kentucky to Clean Up Election Rolls
The ATF Is Still Stonewalling on Reclassification of AR-15 Ammunition
Soros-Front Group Blasts Judicial Watch for Exposing Its Marxist Guerilla Ties
We have taken the lead nationwide in defending state voter ID laws and other commonsense election integrity measures, filing amicus briefs in the Supreme Court and in several circuit courts of appeal and trial courts.
We supported North Carolina’s implementation of its election integrity reform laws, most recently filing amicus briefs in the Supreme Court in March 2017. And the Supreme Court recently upheld efforts by Ohio to maintain accurate voting rolls, which were part of a historic settlement with Judicial Watch.
Now we can announce another victory. A federal court judge has issued a consent decree directing the Commonwealth of Kentucky to remove the names of ineligible voters no longer in residence from its official voter registration lists. U.S. District Judge Gregory F. Van Tatenhove of the Eastern District of Kentucky, Central Division, signed the consent decree between Judicial Watch, Kentucky and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ).
The state of Kentucky has consented to clean its voter rolls of ineligible names in accordance with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA).
The Kentucky State Board of Elections shall develop and implement a general program of statewide voter list maintenance that makes a reasonable effort to remove from the statewide voter registration list the names of registrants who have become ineligible due to a change in residence in accord with section 8 of the NVRA.
Kentucky State Board of Elections shall create a Comprehensive Plan and implement and adhere to its terms.
The decree instructs that the plan is to include:
- Procedures for a general program of list maintenance
- Sources of information used regularly
- Procedures for sending a nonforwardable canvass mailing
- Procedures for using the data that is successfully matched to the statewide voter registration list
- Timing of notices and updates
- List of registrants to whom notices have been sent.
- Procedures for removing from the statewide voter registration list any registrant who is mailed a notice
- A description of databases to be used in list maintenance activities and a plan to consult with relevant database managers, assess the quality of data to be used in list maintenance activities, and develop sound and reliable matching criteria
- Procedures for maintaining and making available for inspection and copying the records concerning implementation of the general program activities
- A detailed description of any role that local election officials may play in list maintenance activities.
- Public outreach
In November 2017, we sued Kentucky over its failure to take reasonable steps to maintain accurate voter registration lists (Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Alison Lundergan Grimes et al.(No. 3:17-cv-00094)). In June 2018, with Judicial Watch’s consent, the Justice Department moved to intervene in the lawsuit against Kentucky.
Our lawsuit argued that 48 Kentucky counties had more registered voters than citizens over the age of 18. The suit noted that Kentucky was one of only three states in which the statewide active registration rate is greater than 100% of the age-eligible citizen population.
We pointed out that Kentucky’s inflated voter rolls indicated that it was not complying with federal laws requiring it to cancel the registrations of citizens who have died or moved elsewhere. This conclusion was bolstered by Kentucky’s failure to divulge registration-related records as required by federal law.
In April 2017, we sent notice-of-violation letters threatening to sue Kentucky and ten other state and local jurisdictions for having more registered voters than citizens of voting age, as calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. We sued Kentucky later that year. In 2018, the Justice Department also contacted Kentucky regarding its failure to comply with Section 8’s list maintenance requirements.
The Kentucky win is the first statewide consent decree ever issued in a Section 8 lawsuit started by private litigants. We previously filed successful NVRA lawsuits against Ohio and Indiana, causing those states voluntarily to clean up their voting rolls.
We also sued the State of Maryland and Montgomery County over their failure to release documents in violation of the NVRA, as well as California and Los Angeles County for their failure to clean their voter rolls. Those lawsuits are ongoing.
Kudos to Robert Popper who took the lead on this lawsuit and directs our Election Integrity Project. JW attorney Eric W. Lee assisted Bob on this important case. And we have been assisted by Mark Wohlander of the Wohlander Law Office in Lexington, and by Christopher Coates of the Law Office of H. Christopher Coates in Charleston, South Carolina.
This consent decree is a victory for the voters of Kentucky and across America that want clean elections. Dirty voter rolls can mean dirty elections so we are pleased that our lawsuit succeeded in requiring Kentucky to take commonsense steps to clean its rolls. It is good to see that the Justice Department, after years of inaction, has finally returned to enforcing the law requiring states to take reasonable steps to maintain the accuracy of voting rolls.
The Obama administration pursued gun control by stealth in a number of ways, including an effort to reclassify certain types of AR-15 ammunition.
Three years ago we filed a Freedom of Information Act request to learn more about this, and last year, with no response, we sued.
Now we have filed a brief in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia asking the court to order the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) to produce more than 1,900 pages of records relating to the its proposed reclassification that would effectively ban certain types of AR-15 ammunition as armor-piercing.
The ATF has admitted that it retrieved 1,900 pages of possibly responsive records, but it has failed to produce the records for more than three years.
We sued in April 2017 after the ATF, a division of the Justice Department, failed to respond to our March 9, 2015, FOIA request (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of Justice (No. 1:17-cv-00600)). The lawsuit is seeking:
- All records of communications, including emails, to or from employees or officials of the ATF related to the decision to revise the ATF 2014 Regulation Guide to no longer exempt 5.56 mm, SS109 and M855 (i.e., “green tip” AR-15) ammunition from the definition of “armor-piercing” ammunition.
Using a narrow interpretation of the FOIA request and neglecting our explanation, the ATF has consistently refused to substantively produce documents in this case. In 2017, the ATF produced just 84 pages of records, all dated March 2015.
The ATF is stonewalling. For three years, since 2015, the ATF has withheld records on how the Obama administration attempted to institute gun control stealthily by going after ammunition instead of guns.
In March 2015, more than 200 members of Congress wrote to former ATF Director Todd Jones to express their “serious concern” that the proposal to reclassify the ammunition types as armor-piercing may violate the Second Amendment by restricting ammunition that had been primarily used for “sporting purposes.” The ATF’s move “does not comport with the letter or spirit of the law and will interfere with Second Amendment rights by disrupting the market for ammunition that law abiding Americans use for sporting and other legitimate purposes,” the letter said.
The precise statutory definition of armor-piercing ammunition can be found in 18 U.S.C. §921(a)(17).
The Deep State isn’t just at the Justice Department and FBI, the arrogance of the permanent bureaucracy pervades all the federal agencies.
We hit a nerve with our investigations of the Soros operations, which too often benefits from your tax dollars. One of these Soros and taxpayer supported radical groups, in Colombia, lashed out at us for exposing the truth. Here’s the latest from our Corruption Chronicles blog.
A Colombian human rights group funded by the U.S. government and leftwing billionaire George Soros is attacking Judicial Watch for exposing its ties to the country’s famously violent Marxist guerrilla. Judicial Watch’s involvement is on behalf of American taxpayers who unknowingly finance the political activities of the Soros Open Society Foundations (OSF) abroad, including in Colombia. The cash flows through the State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and is used to support extremist groups that want to rewrite Colombia’s history by granting terrorists from the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC), the guerrilla formed by communist farmers in the country’s central region, the same rights as legitimate police and military forces. The movement, supported by the Obama administration, also seeks to rebrand decades of massacres, kidnappings, child soldiering, and drug trafficking by a criminal syndicate as simply “50 years of armed conflict.”
In March Judicial Watch filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against USAID and the State Department for records relating to their funding of the political activities of OSF groups in Colombia. Among them is a Bogota-based nonprofit called Dejusticia that claims to promote human rights and is run by a leftwing attorney named Rodrigo Uprimny. Both Soros and Uncle Sam fill Dejusticia’s coffers and Uprimny is considered one of the FARC’s biggest allies and promoters. A Colombian news report describes Dejusticia as a highly influential entity that has promoted the “terrorist group FARC” to the point of converting it into a legitimate political ally of the government which includes personal sessions with Colombia’s president. Because it’s impossible for the FARC to erase its crimes, it depends on the well-known attorney’s systematic defense which makes a mockery of victims, the news report states. Like Judicial Watch, the news agency is also a target of Dejusticia’s attacks.
In a lengthy piece on its website and in a social media posting, Dejusticia blasts Judicial Watch for investigating its leader as well as other leftist figures funded with American tax dollars in the region. Dejusticia’s director accuses Judicial Watch of being a racist organization that strives to bring down progressive democracies and uses its name to trick Latin Americans into thinking that it’s a serious group like Human Rights Watch. The piece further accuses Judicial Watch of falsely reporting that ISIS is operating in Mexico, a story published three years ago as part of an ongoing investigation into the national security threats along the southern border. Judicial Watch’s reporting is based on rock solid sources inside Mexican and U.S. military and law enforcement agencies. They confirm that ISIS established a base near El Paso, Texas around eight miles from the U.S. border in an area known as “Anapra” situated just west of Ciudad Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua. In a social media post Dejusticia encourages those committed to the truth, democracy and human rights to denounce Judicial Watch. One Colombian man responded to the order by posting that it’s well known that the Open Society and Uprimny are actively seeking to impose totalitarianism in Colombia.
As part of the same investigation into the U.S.-funded Soros agenda in Latin America, Judicial Watch also recently exposed the FARC ties of the head of a global commission operating in Guatemala under the notoriously corrupt United Nations (UN). He’s a Colombian attorney and former judge named Ivan Velásquez, who runs the UN-backed International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), a controversial body known to utilize measures that threaten the impoverished Central American nation’s sovereignty. As a lawyer in Colombia, Velásquez aligned with the FARC. Former Colombian President Alvaro Uribe says that as a judge in Colombia Velásquez launched a crusade to absolve the country’s leftist narcoterrorism. During eight years as Colombia’s president Uribe’s hardline security stance transformed the country from a notoriously violent narcoterrorism state to a thriving democracy. Velásquez abuses the justice system to persecute his political enemies, according to Uribe, who currently serves in Colombia’s senate. Incredibly, Velásquez was in Washington D.C. a few months ago to promote his leftist agenda in Central America. Weeks later Judicial Watch published a special investigative report detailing how the U.S. government is using taxpayer dollars to support Soros’ radical globalist agenda in Guatemala.
Until next week …