U.S. District Judge Keith Starrett in the Southern District of Mississippi signed a consent decree to clean up a county’s voter registration rolls in response to a lawsuit brought by the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU), a conservative counterweight to the ACLU, in a Wednesday ruling.
The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA, also called Motor Voter) lowered the requirements for registering to vote in many ways, some of which carry significant risks of voter fraud. But it also empowers private entities to sue to enforce various provisions in NVRA.
This past April, the ACRU sued Walthall County, Mississippi, under NVRA. The county had more registered voters on its voter rolls than it had voting-age citizens in the county. Official records listed 10,078 active voters, but census data showed only 9,536 people over the age of 18 (the minimum age for voting) living in the county.
Apparently the county was not fulfilling its obligations under NVRA to police its voter rolls. Therefore, the ACRU sued to force that compliance, represented by former U.S. Justice Department attorneys Christian Adams, Christopher Coates, and Henry Ross.
Rather than fight, the county conceded, so the lawyers drafted a consent decree, which Judge Starrett signed Wednesday to enter as a judgment binding the parties with the force of law.
ACRU Chairman Susan Carleson responded:
It’s the first time since Motor Voter was enacted in 1993 giving private parties the right to sue over voting irregularities that any private party has won a case to require clean voter rolls. With the Justice Department on the warpath against state election integrity laws, it couldn’t come at a better time.
Adams added, “We’re doing the job that Attorney General Eric H. Holder won’t do. In fact, he’s too busy suing Texas for its new photo ID law…”
The ACRU is also suing Jefferson Davis County on the same issue. That county is contesting the matter, with a trial date set for June 2014.
Breitbart News legal columnist Ken Klukowski is a senior legal analyst with the American Civil Rights Union and on faculty at Liberty University School of Law. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.