True the Vote and Judicial Watch Sue State of Ohio over Mismanaged Voter Rolls
After repeated attempts to make certain that Ohio is taking all steps to keep its rolls free of the dead, felons, and otherwise ineligible voters, True The Vote and Judicial Watch have filed suit to compel compliance with federal election law.
True The Vote and Judicial Watch initially noticed irregularities in data that demonstrated three counties (Auglaize, Wood, and Morrow) claiming over 100 percent voter registration compared to living, eligible voting age population. Both Auglaize and Wood Counties claimed over 105 percent voter registration. The watchdogs discovered these discrepancies after cross-referencing 2010 US Census data against the most recent county submissions to the federal Election Assistance Commission. According to the lawsuit, three counties were flagged as potential flagrant violations of federal law, while 31 additional counties were highlighted as potential violations in the near future.
The two groups initially brought the matter before the Ohio Secretary of State in February. Judicial Watch sent a letter to Ohio Secretary Jon Husted notifying him that the State of Ohio was in potential violation of Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (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. A letter dated March 2, 2012 claimed the state “share(s) your concerns about the accuracy of our voting lists,” but offered little explanation as to how the problem was being solved. True The Vote and Judicial Watch were informed on a directive from April 2011 that was meant to correct some irregularities but were given no evidence of corrective action.
According to the lawsuit, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted admitted to US Attorney General Eric Holder on February 10, 2012 that “the State of Ohio has not fulfilled its duty under Section 8 of the NVRA to make a reasonable effort to remove ineligible voters from its voter rolls.” In addition, Ohio Secretary Husted admitted that two counties had more registered to vote than eligible.
"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.
Prior to the August 30, 2012 filing of the lawsuit, neither True The Vote nor Judicial Watch received any communication from Ohio authorities evidencing or simply claiming the matter had been corrected. The groups will seek statutory relief in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, Eastern Division.