Tag Archives: Public Interest Legal

“Advocates Worry Trump Administration Wants To Revamp Motor Voter Law”

If by “revamp Motor Voter” they mean keep voter registration rolls free of ineligible people, then yes.


Left-wing “advocates” like Demos that oppose removing ineligible people from voter rolls “worry” that two separate federal requests for information related to states’ voter registration lists signal what they see as an unwelcome return to enforcement of federal laws that require states to proactively maintain accurate voter lists. Such enforcement was nonexistent under the Obama administration.


One request, from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, asks for states’ publicly available voter registration records. The other, from the DOJ Voting Section, requires states to document procedures they follow to maintain accurate voter lists in compliance with the National Voter Registration Act (aka Motor Voter) and the Help America Vote Act.


Both letters come in response to concerns about voter rolls that are bloated with outdated, inaccurate, and duplicate registrations. Experts estimate there may be millions of people on voter rolls who have died, moved, aren’t citizens, or are otherwise ineligible to vote.


Motor Voter adds to the problem by making it difficult to take ineligible people off the rolls, and easy for some to get on.


“When you’ve got a system that allows people to mark, ‘No, I am not a citizen,’ and still get registered to vote, that system is broken.”



J. Christian Adams: States stonewalling Election Integrity Commission on voter roll data are going to fail

Public Interest Legal Foundation President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams talks with WMAL’s Larry O’Connor about states refusing to release voter registration information to President Trump’s Commission on Election Integrity — and why their stonewalling efforts are going to fail:



Adams, a former Voting Section attorney in the U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division, explains that federal laws require states to provide voter registration data upon request. And those federal laws trump state laws.

“People don’t like their dirty laundry to be aired. I can understand why some election officials don’t want the information to get to the commission. But this is public information. We [PILF] had to sue three Virginia counties in federal court to get the information from them.


“The federal law under Motor Voter gives individuals, as well as governments if they so ask, the right to this information.


“Whatever happened to the transparency crowd? Or the Hashtag Science group who wants to know the facts about things?”

The commission’s request letter specifically asks states only for “publicly available voter roll data… if publicly available under the laws of your state,” and clearly articulates the purpose for its request: “to fully analyze vulnerabilities and issues related to voter registration and voting.”


Yet some states, like Maryland, are claiming their state laws prevent them from sharing the data. The most important thing to understand about those claims, Adams says, is that federal law is supreme to state law.

“Federal law says that states upon request have to give this information to the federal government. . . . Not just Motor Voter but civil rights laws going back to 1960… That law is still the law. And that’s why these state stonewalling efforts are going to fail.”

Other states are suggesting they’ll ignore the request simply because they disagree with the commission’s purpose – or its personnel.  Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who’s not even the state official with authority over the request, says he won’t comply because “the commission is based on the specious and false notion that there was widespread voter fraud last November.”


Misleading media reports to the contrary, most states in fact are only withholding what they consider “private” data as is specifically exempted from the request – primarily Social Security numbers, which Adams says aren’t critical for the commission’s purpose.


Adams notes that the people who don’t want to give up voter roll information are usually the same people who say there’s no voter fraud.

“It’s funny to suddenly have people who don’t want to get to the truth – it’s going to be a short-lived resistance. . . .

“This is public information under federal law… It’s really unfortunate that, whether it’s Democrats or Republicans, some folks are opposed to getting to the truth.”


Wake County settles lawsuit to clean up its voter rolls

Nothing like a lawsuit to get local election officials to agree to do their job.


After nearly a year of litigation, the Wake County Board of Elections signed a settlement with watchdog group Voter Integrity Project NC agreeing to do more to maintain accurate voter rolls and to respond to future requests for list maintenance information as federal law requires.


Public Interest Legal Foundation filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of VIP-NC after the group found Wake County’s voter rolls contained more than the number of residents eligible to vote, including tens of thousands of inactive voters.


North Carolina’s state law requires local elections boards to remove inactive voters from registration rolls if they don’t respond to mailers and fail to participate in four consecutive federal elections.


“Inactive voters are the modern-day ‘dead voter,’ meaning that anybody can walk in and vote in their name simply by reciting the name and address of that voter, with no ID required,” VIP-NC director Jay DeLancy said.


PILF President J. Christian Adams said they were pleased with the results.

“Other counties in North Carolina should take note that requests for public information and obligations to maintain clean rolls must be met.  In the future, election officials across North Carolina should take seriously their obligation to comply with all provisions in the National Voter Registration Act.”