One of the most important things we can do in this election year is continue to force states and counties across the nation to comply with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA).
And we are. We have sent notice-of-violation letters to 19 large counties in five states that we intend to sue unless they take steps to comply with the law and remove ineligible voter registrations within 90 days. Section 8 of the act requires jurisdictions to take reasonable efforts to remove ineligible registrations from their rolls.
Despite our successful litigation to bring counties and states into compliance with the NVRA, voter registration lists across the country remain significantly out of date. According to our analysis of data released by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) this year, 378 counties nationwide have more voter registrations than citizens old enough to vote, i.e., counties where registration rates exceed 100%.
These 378 counties combined had about 2.5 million registrations over the 100%-registered mark, which is a drop of about one million from our previous analysis of voter registration data. Although San Diego County removed 500,000 inactive names from voter rolls following our settlement with Los Angeles County, San Diego still has a registration rate of 117% and has one of the highest registration rates in the county.
Judicial Watch Attorney Robert Popper is the director of our Election Integrity initiative. In the latest round of warning letters, we explain that implausibly high registration rates raise legal concerns:
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]. If few or no voters were removed…the jurisdiction is obviously failing to comply . . . States must report the number of such removals to the EAC.
We 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:
- Jefferson County
- 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
- Fairfax County
- Allegheny County
- Bucks County
- Chester County
- Delaware County
We are the national leader in enforcing the NVRA, which requires states to take reasonable steps to clean their rolls.
In 2018, the Supreme Court upheld a massive voter roll cleanup that resulted from our settlement of a federal lawsuit with Ohio. California also settled a similar lawsuit with us that last year began the process of removing up to 1.5 million “inactive” names from Los Angeles County voting rolls. Kentucky also began a cleanup of up to 250,00 names last year after it entered into a consent decree to end another Judicial Watch lawsuit.
Dirty voting rolls can mean dirty elections and we will insist, in court if necessary, that states follow federal law to clean up their voting rolls. Our previous lawsuits have already led to major cleanups in California, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio – but more needs to be done. It is common sense that voters who die or move away be removed from the voting rolls.