ACRU

ACRU Warns Virginia County to Clean Up Voter Rolls

Group sends letter citing Chesterfield County’s refusal to abide by state effort, and federal judge’s ruling, to follow Motor Voter law.

ALEXANDRIA, VA (Oct. 22, 2013) – The American Civil Rights Union sent a letter today to Chesterfield County, Virginia officials requesting that ACRU attorneys be allowed to inspect county voting registration records before the November statewide election.

Chesterfield is the only county to refuse an order from the state Board of Elections to check their records against a list of up to 57,000 voters that state officials say may be ineligible.

In a legal campaign headed by former Justice Department Voting Section attorney J. Christian Adams, the ACRU recently won consent decrees from two Mississippi counties over the same issue. It was the first time that a private group had sued under the National Voter Registration Act (Motor Voter) to have voter rolls cleaned up, and won.

The ACRU’s Virginia action was triggered by Chesterfield County General Registrar Lawrence Haake’s announcement that he would not check for ineligible voters in his county’s voting rolls until after the election at the earliest.

The state’s cleanup of voter rolls is part of the Interstate Voter Crosscheck Program, a multi-state project of secretaries of state that is aimed at removing voters who are registered in more than one state. The Democratic Party of Virginia sued to restore 38,000 names that the party claims were possibly removed in error. On Monday, U.S. District Judge Claude M. Hilton rejected the Democrats’ request for a preliminary injunction, writing that, “plaintiff has failed to show a violation of the Equal Protection Clause or the Due Process Clause. There exists a valid state interest in preventing voter fraud.”

Noting that the judge’s ruling states that “there is no evidence that the Interstate Crosscheck Program is disenfranchising any lawfully registered Virginia voters,” ACRU Chairman and CEO Susan A. Carleson said, “We’re determined to fight vote fraud and make sure everyone’s legal vote counts.” The ACRU’s Election Integrity Defense Project can be found at www.defendelectionintegrity.org.

ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight added, “There is no downside to removing ineligible or duplicate voters from the rolls, except for those who want to leave the system vulnerable to vote fraud.”

ACRU has asked for access under federal law to inspect voter records before the November election to see if Haake is keeping ineligible voters on the rolls.