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Doing the DOJ’s Job for Them: Demanding Valid Voter Rolls Before November

I have sent notice letters to 16 states informing them that they are in violation of the National Voting Rights Act. Private lawsuits may follow if they do not comply. (Update: Don't miss Adams' new interview with Alexis Garcia on PJTV. Click here to watch.)

by
J. Christian Adams

Bio

September 7, 2010 - 12:00 am
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As the saying goes: if you want a job done right, you have to do it yourself. If Americans don’t want dead and ineligible felons participating in elections, they will have to clean up the mess themselves, as Attorney General Eric Holder won’t do his job by enforcing the integrity protections in the “Motor Voter” law passed in 1993.

Motor Voter struck an important balance — it sought to increase voter registration, as well as ensure voter integrity. Welfare offices and motor vehicle offices became voter registration centers. But the law also required states to conduct list maintenance to ensure ineligible names don’t pollute the voting rolls. Dead people, ineligible felons, and people who moved away must be removed from the rolls by state election officials.

The attorney general was given the power to enforce both provisions of Motor Voter, yet Eric Holder is only interested in enforcing one. This attorney general simply won’t do his job and enforce the list integrity requirements.

During the Bush administration, the Justice Department enforced both Section 7 (the welfare office registration provisions) as well as Section 8 (the list integrity provisions). Section 7 cases were investigated and brought against multiple states, including Illinois and Arizona. Section 8 cases were investigated and brought against multiple states, like Missouri and Maine.

The decision of the Holder DOJ to ignore the integrity provisions of Section 8 is deliberate and corrupt. In November 2009, political appointee Julie Fernandes told the entire assembled DOJ Voting Section that the Obama administration would not enforce the list maintenance provisions of Section 8. Section 8 “doesn’t have anything to do with increasing minority turnout,” Fernandes said. “We don’t have any interest in enforcing that part of the law.” End of story.

At the same time, Fernandes stressed that the DOJ would vigorously enforce the welfare agency registration provisions of Section 7.

She made these lawless instructions in front of me and dozens of other shocked Voting Section lawyers. The DOJ has never once denied that Fernandes gave these instructions, nor has the DOJ countermanded them.

This lawless policy couldn’t have a partisan motivation, could it?

Now, Americans are left to clean up the voter rolls on their own. Thankfully, Motor Voter provides a private right of action — that means private citizens can bring lawsuits against states and voter registrars who are allowing dead and ineligible voters to taint the voter rolls.

Americans are used to getting the job done themselves. Reliance on government tends to disappoint.

Using this private right of action, I have given sixteen states the legal notice required to alert them that they have violated Section 8 of Motor Voter. I am working with private citizens across the nation to help ensure that the elections in November aren’t plagued by ineligible voters. If the states don’t fix the problem, private lawsuits may follow. The sixteen notice letters rely on publicly available data and describe problems in the voter rolls.

Every two years, states must report to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) information about their voter rolls. The latest report is troubling. South Dakota, Texas, Mississippi, Kentucky and Indiana report in excess of a dozen counties with more registered voters than living people old enough to vote. Having more voters than living humans tells you something is wrong. In West Virginia, one county reported 113% of the voting age population was registered to vote. Baltimore, Maryland, reported 104% of voting age citizens on the rolls. Iowa and North Carolina also reported counties with more voters than living citizens of voting age.

All of these states received a notice letter.

Ponce de Leon wasted his time looking for the fountain of youth in Florida — he should have gone to Maryland, Arkansas, Massachusetts, Oregon, or Tennessee. These states report that they didn’t remove a single dead voter from 2006 to 2008. Some of the dead registered voters were resurrected on election day and cast ballots.

These states also received a notice letter.

Many counties in other states also have amazing longevity. Large numbers of counties in Alabama, Rhode Island, and Virginia report removing no dead voters in two years. Whatever they are drinking there, I’d like some quick.

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