County concealing non-citizen voter registrants gets put on notice – Cough up records, or else

From: The Public Interest Legal Foundation

(SAN ANTONIO, TX.) – January 3, 2018: The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) gave notice to the office of the Bexar County Elections Administrator that it could face a lawsuit if it fails to reveal records of noncitizens that were registered to vote.

In a letter recently submitted to Bexar County, officials were given final notice that they now face “federal litigation should [they] continue to deny access to the requested records” related to noncitizen voters on the rolls. Federal notice requirements provide the County time to fix their refusal to comply with federal inspection rights before a lawsuit is filed.

Bexar County declined the PILF’s original request to inspect records related to registrants who were later removed following official discovery or admitted non-citizenship on December 14. Attorneys for the Election Administrator explicitly told PILF that if representatives appeared for inspection at County offices, they would be denied access.

The December 20 letter states, “the Bexar County Elections Administrator is hereby notified that it now faces federal litigation should they continue to deny access to requested records in their possession.”

Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 allows individuals to request inspection or seek copies of records related to “records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters,” the PILF letters noted.

“This is a terrible mistake on the part of Bexar County and an abrupt reversal on years of compliance with similar requests PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “Other counties across Texas are complying with federal law. Either Bexar officials feel they are special or they have something embarrassing to hide. We will go to federal court if we must to obtain these public records.”

The Public Interest Legal Foundation has built a record case studies uncovering noncitizen voter registration and voting in a growing number of states.

  • In October 2016, PILF found noncitizens registered to vote in Philadelphia. Half of those voted in at least one election.
  • In May 2017, PILF found 5,556 voters removed by the Commonwealth of Virginia as “non-citizens”. Roughly 33% voted. This research followed an initial October 2016 sampling that yielded 1,000 noncitizens.
  • In September 2017, PILF found 1,069 noncitizens within New Jersey’s voter registration system.
  • In October 2017, PILF testified before the Pennsylvania House State Government Committee on the matter of noncitizen voting in the state and encouraged an official review to identify more ineligible voters. Testimony was taken again by the PA Senate State Government Committee in December 2017.
  • In December 2017, PILF put the State of Pennsylvania on notice for failing to release records related to noncitizens removed from the voter rolls. Litigation can commence as early as January 2018.

A copy of the data request letter can be found, here.

A copy of PILF’s final notice letter can be found, here.

Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) is a 501(c)(3) public interest law firm dedicated to election integrity. The Foundation exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections. Drawing on numerous experts in the field, PILF seeks to protect the right to vote and preserve the Constitutional framework of American elections.

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