Judicial Watch works on many important issues of government for us, the American people. One of the most important things they have been doing is to continue to force states and counties across the nation to comply with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA).
The Judicial Watch Weekly Update this week id about ongoing efforts in this area.
More voters on the checklist than there are people eligible to vote
They have sent notice of violation letters to 19 large counties in five states. This means Judicial Watch intends to sue unless the counties take steps to comply with the NVRA. The action required is the removal of ineligible voter registrations within 90 days. Section 8 of the NVRA requires jurisdictions to take reasonable efforts to remove ineligible registrations from their rolls.
In the past Judicial Watch has engaged in successful litigation to bring counties and states into compliance with the NVRA. They have won across the country. In 2018, the Supreme Court upheld a massive voter roll clean up that resulted from their settlement of a federal lawsuit with Ohio. California also settled a similar lawsuit with them that last year and began the process of removing up to 1.5 million “inactive” names from Los Angeles County voting rolls. Kentucky too began a cleanup of up to 250,000 names last year after it entered into a consent decree to end another Judicial Watch lawsuit.
Still, voter registration lists across the country remain significantly out of date. Judicial Watch’s analysis of data released by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) this year shows 378 counties nationwide have more voter registrations than citizens old enough to vote. These are counties where registration rates exceed 100%. That’s a problem.
12% of all counties have this problem
There are about 3,141 counties in the U.S. So, about 12% of counties have more registered voters than they have citizens old enough to vote. This is a glaring issue demonstrating the lack of seriousness attached to oversight of voting rolls. If there are more voters registered than there are eligible voters in the jurisdiction what other irregularities are present?
These 378 counties combined had about 2.5 million registrations over the 100%-registered mark. It is worthwhile to note this is a drop of about one million from the previous analysis of voter registration data. San Diego County removed 500,000 inactive names from voter rolls following our settlement with Los Angeles County. However, San Diego still has a registration rate of 117% and has one of the highest registration rates in the county. This is a failure to recognize the right answer when told. Vote integrity requires accurate voting rolls.
Judicial Watch Attorney Robert Popper is the director of their Election Integrity initiative. In the latest round of warning letters, Judicial Watch explains; implausibly high registration rates raise legal concerns e.g.:
• An unusually high registration rate suggests that a jurisdiction is not removing voters who have died or who have moved elsewhere, as required by federal law.
• Judicial Watch also considers how many registrations were ultimately removed from the voter rolls because a registrant had moved.
o If few or no voters were removed…the jurisdiction is obviously failing to comply . . .
o States must report the number of such removals to the EAC.
Where are the issues cited?
Judicial Watch found major voting list issues in California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, and Colorado. The following counties have excessive registration rates or have failed to cancel sufficient numbers of ineligible registrations:
- Colorado: Jefferson County
- California: Imperial County, Monterey County, Orange County, Riverside County, San Diego County, San Francisco County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Solano County, Stanislaus County, Yolo County
- North Carolina: Guilford County, Mecklenburg County
- Virginia: Fairfax County
- Pennsylvania: Allegheny County, Bucks County, Chester County, Delaware County
Putting a bow on it
Judicial Watch is the national leader in enforcing the NVRA, which requires states to take reasonable steps to clean their rolls. Dirty voting rolls can mean dirty elections. Judicial watch insists, in court if necessary, that states follow federal law to clean up their voting rolls. The question here is why are these jurisdictions not following the law? Are there commonalities in this lack of enforcement or motivation to enforce? Here in New Hampshire, our watchdog group is the Coalition of New Hampshire Taxpayers.
Knowing this is a nationwide issue where is the Department of Justice? Judicial Watch’s previous lawsuits have led to major cleanups in California, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. The counties, states, and the nation need to do more and we need to do better. What sense does it make to pass laws we lack the will to enforce? It is common sense that voters who die or move away be removed from the voting rolls. Why is that not happening? Vote integrity requires accurate voting rolls.