JW & True the Vote Defend Florida's Efforts to Clean Voter Registration Lists

Last Wednesday, together with True the Vote, Judicial Watch filed a Motion for Intervention to defend the State of Florida’s efforts to clean up voter registration lists against an Obama administration lawsuit. (True the Vote is a grassroots election integrity organization and a Judicial Watch client.)

Florida is a key presidential battleground state. 

Here is some background: The State of Florida initiated a systematic effort to remove ineligible voters from voter registration lists after Judicial Watch filed a letter of inquiry with Florida election officials on February 6, 2012.

JW had conducted a thorough analysis of Florida’s voter registration lists and discovered some significant issues. (For example, Judicial Watch noted in 2009 and 2010 that 172,509 people died in the state but records showed that election officials had only removed 4,450 dead people from its lists. The numbers just didn’t add up.)

So we alerted Florida election officials to the problem and notified them that failure to maintain clean voter registration lists violates Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). To its credit, the state responded quickly and took steps to alert county election officials about potential illegal voters on the election rolls.

And everything was going just fine, until the Obama administration stepped in and filed a lawsuit on June 12, 2012, asking a federal court to enjoin the state from continuing its efforts to cleanse voter registration lists of ineligible voters. (To repeat, the nation’s highest law enforcement agency wants Florida to stop making sure it registration lists are clean!)

Thankfully, last week a federal court shot down an attempt by the Obama administration to impose an emergency injunction barring the state from continuing its purge. As reported by The New York Times

A federal judge on Wednesday rebuffed the Department of Justice’s emergency request to stop Florida’s attempt to remove people who are not American citizens from its voter registration rolls.

The lawsuit, however, will continue. And Judicial Watch intends, if the court approves, to participate. 

According to Judicial Watch’s motion, filed jointly with Judicial Watch client True the Vote on June 26, 2012, with the United States District Court for the Northern District of Florida, Tallahassee Division, Florida’s activities were consistent with the law:

[Judicial Watch and True the Vote] seek to enter this lawsuit in order to demonstrate that, not only are the State of Florida’s list maintenance activities valid, proper, and timely, but that they also are required under federal law. Intervention will ensure that the organizational interests of Proposed Intervener True the Vote and the rights and interest of the members of Proposed Intervener Judicial Watch, Inc. are adequately protected and preserved.

As reported by The Associated Press, the State of Florida had ordered the removal of 53,000 dead voters from its lists while identifying an additional 2,700 non-citizens registered to vote. Press reports suggest the number of non-citizen voters in the state could be as high as 180,000.)

By any objective analysis, there can be only one reason why Obama administration officials would object to Florida’s efforts to clean its registration lists – they want more illegal voters to vote! Especially people (i.e. illegal aliens) they believe will vote to re-elect the president.

And this is not just happening in Florida. A recent report by non-partisan Pew Charitable Trusts published in February 2012 indicates that approximately 24 million active voter registrations in states across the country – or one out of every eight registrations – are either no longer valid or are significantly inaccurate!

For this reason, Judicial Watch is focusing a great deal of its attention on pushing forward its large-scale, nationwide 2012 Election Integrity Project.

According to a comprehensive Judicial Watch investigation, in addition to Florida, a number of other states also appear to have problems with inaccurate voter registration lists, including: Indiana, Mississippi, Iowa, Missouri, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Alabama, and California. We have put election officials on notice in these states that they must maintain accurate voter registration lists consistent with Section 8 of the NVRA or face litigation to enforce the federal law.

And on June 11, 2012, we made good on this promise when Judicial Watch (along with co-plaintiff True the Vote) filed a federal lawsuit against the State of Indiana for failure to comply with voter list maintenance provisions of the NVRA. (J. Christian Adams, a former civil rights attorney with the Department of Justice, is of counsel to the groups on these legal actions. The groups are also represented in Florida by the firm, Radey, Thomas, Yon & Clark.)

There is now no doubt in my mind that the Obama Justice Department is hostile to the idea of clean and fair elections. It is shameful that the Justice Department is now in court trying to stop Florida from fulfilling its legal obligation to remove non-citizen, ineligible voters from the voting rolls. (Not to mention its efforts to stop voter ID laws in South Carolina and Texas.) We look forward to defending the voting rights of our supporters, the rule of law, and election integrity from an unprecedented attack from this politicized Justice Department.

And so does True the Vote.

“According to polls, most Americans agree that Florida should be making efforts to ensure people who are not eligible to vote are kept off of the voter registration rolls. Not only is this common sense, it is what the law requires. It’s disappointing that the Justice Department is more interested in taking extreme legal positions than protecting the integrity of the 2012 elections,” said True the Vote President Catherine Engelbrecht in a press statement.


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