Judicial Watch and True the Vote Sue Indiana Election Officials

Judicial Watch and True the Vote Sue Indiana Election Officials

They can’t say they weren’t warned. A few months ago Judicial Watch put election officials on notice in a number of states that they must clean up their voter registration lists or face Judicial Watch lawsuits.

Election officials in the State of Indiana failed to heed our warning, forcing JW to take historic action in federal court. JW filed a lawsuit in partnership with True the Vote, a grassroots election integrity watchdog, against election officials in the State of Indiana alleging violations of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). 

Specifically our lawsuit alleges that Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson and Indiana Elections Division Co-Directors J. Bradley King and Trent Deckard have failed to maintain clean voter registration lists and make records related to voter registration list maintenance available as required by Section 8 of the NVRA.

Here’s a squib from our lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division:

Plaintiffs seek declaratory and injunctive relief to compel Defendants’ compliance with Section 8 of the NVRA. Specifically, Defendants have violated Section 8 by failing to make a reasonable effort to conduct voter list maintenance programs in elections for Federal office and by failing to produce records related to those efforts, as required by Section 8. Plaintiffs thus seek a declaration and an injunction requiring Defendants to conduct and execute voter list maintenance programs in a manner that is consistent with federal law and further requiring Defendants to produce records about its list maintenance efforts.

This isn’t the first time the State of Indiana has been chastised for violating the NVRA.

In 2006 (back when the federal government actually cared about such things) the feds sued Indiana election officials and forced the state to take measures to comply with the voter list maintenance under the NVRA. However, the remedies enacted by the state under a consent decree proved to be temporary.

In fact, based upon Judicial Watch’s analysis of publicly available data for the November 2010 general election, the number of persons listed on voter registration rolls in 12 counties in the State of Indiana exceeds 100% of the total voting-age population in those counties!

Owing to this major discrepancy, on February 6, 2012, Judicial Watch notified election officials in Indiana that the state is in violation of the NVRA. The February 6, 2012, letter also requested that the State of Indiana make available for public inspection all records concerning “the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency” of official lists of eligible voters, per Section 8 of the NVRA.

In other words, we wanted to see the evidence that the State of Indiana was serious about the integrity of its voter registration lists.

Instead, we got an order formally denying what Indiana characterized as a “grievance or complaint,” without explanation. Moreover, not a single record has been made available responsive to Judicial Watch’s request.

Indiana’s election officials are clearly shirking their responsibility to maintain clean voter registration lists. And the citizens of Indiana should be outraged by the indifferent attitude their election officials have taken with respect to the NVRA and to clean elections.

Indiana is far from the only state dealing with this specific problem. This is our first lawsuit.  We plan to sue other states that failed to take reasonable steps to remove deceased and ineligible voters from the rolls because this is a nationwide problem.

A recent report by the non-partisan Pew Charitable Trusts found that inaccurate voter registrations are rampant. Pew’s independent research 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. According to a comprehensive Judicial Watch investigation, here are the worst offenders: Mississippi, Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, Texas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Florida, Alabama, and California.

And what are Obama Department of Justice (DOJ) officials doing about the 24 million invalid voter registrations, many of which are illegal aliens? Stacking the number of illegal voters even higher!

First, as detailed in documents uncovered by Judicial Watch, the Obama DOJ is partnering with the ACORN-connected Project Vote, President Obama’s former employer, to aggressively enforce a provision in the NVRA forcing states to register greater numbers of voters on public assistance (Obama’s “Food Stamp Army”).  Meanwhile, the Obama DOJ is simultaneously ignoring a stipulation in the law that requires states to undertake reasonable measures to keep clean voter registration lists.

The DOJ’s dereliction of duty under Obama is precisely how you end up with states that have more than 100% of the number of eligible voters on its voter registration lists.

When states do try to increase election security, the DOJ intervenes, as it has done in Texas and South Carolina to prevent election integrity measures from being implemented.

Most recently, the DOJ is opposing Florida’s Section 8 efforts to remove non-citizens from the voting rolls. Florida took action to clean its voter registration lists after receiving one of JW’s warning letters. The leftist operatives at the Holder DOJ weren’t happy about it. And so, on May 31, 2012, T. Christian Herren, Chief of the Voting Section of the DOJ’s Civil Rights Division, wrote a letter to Florida officials ordering a halt to the voting roll list maintenance process!

(Herren’s name might be familiar to you. As JW uncovered, he was the key point of contact for former ACORN attorney and current Project Vote Director of Advocacy, Estelle Rogers, who recommended to Herren three candidates for jobs within the DOJ’s voting rights division.)

Thankfully, Florida is fighting back against the DOJ’s efforts to keep illegal voters on the state’s registration lists. Last Monday, the state filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security to gain access to a federal database that will assist the state in removing ineligible voters from its lists. J. Christian Adams, a former DOJ attorney who is partnering with us in our litigation to clean up the election rolls, got it right in a commentary piece reacting to the DOJ’s attack on Florida:

A former Justice Department official tells me tonight it is “deliciously ironic that the first and only NVRA Section 8 case brought by the Justice Department is one seeking to block the removal of ineligible voters.”

I’m usually a fan of delicious irony, but this latest outrage from Obama’s embattled attorney general marks a new corrupt low, even for him.

So we know how the Obama DOJ is undermining election integrity. Now here’s the why: The Obama DOJ is doing everything in its power to ensure the re-election of Barack Obama, lawfully and otherwise.

Judicial Watch does not support or oppose candidates for public office. No matter who is elected, the law requires that it be done without fraud.  The integrity of the voting process is fundamental to the proper functioning of our democracy. We have memorials across the nation dedicated to those Americans who fought and died to preserve this right, and we have no intention of seeing it sullied by dirty elections.

For this reason, Judicial Watch launched its 2012 Election Integrity Project.

Our warning letters and lawsuits involving the NVRA are but two components of this campaign, but they are critical. As True the Vote’s Catherine Engelbrecht points out: “This [Indiana] lawsuit is a historic step in restoring integrity to the American system of electing its leaders. Dirty election rolls can lead to election fraud and stolen elections.”