Court Activity

How Two New Court Rulings Are Impacting the November Election | 07/26/16

By Hans von Spakovsky

The same week that Republicans were formally nominating their 2016 presidential candidate in Cleveland, two different courts issued decisions, one positive and one negative, that may affect the security and integrity of the November election in Virginia and Texas. The Virginia case threw out the blanket restoration of felon voting rights, while the Texas case found that the state's voter ID law violates the Voting Rights Act.

On July 22 in Howell v. McAuliffe, the Virginia State Supreme Court ruled four to three that Governor Terry McAuliffe had acted outside of his constitutional authority (sounds like Obama) when he granted a blanket restoration of voting rights to 206,000 felons, of whom over 11,000 have already registered to vote.

A group of state Republican Virginia legislators led by Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates William J. Howell, as well as some registered voters, challenged the executive order McAuliffe issued on April 22. The court said that order inverted the constitutional rule in Virginia. According to the court, the Virginia constitution sets out the rule that no one "who has been convicted of a felony shall be qualified to vote unless his civil rights have been restored by the Governor." But McAuliffe changed this "rule-exception sequence" to reframe this constitutional provision to instead say that no one "who has been convicted of a felony shall be disqualified to vote unless the convicted felon is incarcerated or serving a sentence of supervised release."

The court was faced with the question of whether the governor had suspended the "general principle of voter disqualification" in the Virginia constitution and replaced it "with a new voter qualification that has not received the 'consent of the representatives of the people.'" In deciding that question against McAuliffe, the court was guided by the "backdrop of history." 

As the court said:

"Never before have any of the prior 71 Virginia Governors issued a clemency order of any kind - including pardons, reprieves, commutations, and restoration orders - to a class of unnamed felons without regard for the nature of the crimes or any other individual circumstances relevant to the request. To be sure, no Governor of this Commonwealth, until now, has even suggested that such a power exists. And the only Governors who have seriously considered the question concluded that no such power exists."

Read more of ACRU Policy Board member Hans von Spakovsky's Conservative Review article.

Virginia Supreme Court Overturns Governor's Order on Felon Voting | 07/24/16

RICHMOND -- Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe's executive order restoring the voting rights of more than 200,000 felons is unconstitutional, the Supreme Court of Virginia ruled Friday, siding with Republican lawmakers who said the governor overstepped his authority.

In a 4-3 decision on July 22, the Court ordered the state to cancel the registrations of the more than 11,000 felons who have signed up to vote so far under the governor's April executive order and subsequent ones, which also allowed felons to run for public office, serve on a jury and become a notary public

Top Republicans, who sued the governor over the order, called it "a major victory for the Constitution, the rule of law and the Commonwealth of Virginia."

"Our nation was founded on the principles of limited government and separation of powers. Those principles have once again withstood assault from the executive branch. This opinion is a sweeping rebuke of the governor's unprecedented assertion of executive authority," House Speaker William Howell and Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment said in a statement.

Republicans argued that governors cannot restore rights en masse but must consider each former offender's case individually. Their attorney, Charles Cooper, who is on the Policy Board of the American Civil Rights Union, told the justices during oral arguments Tuesday that the fact that no other Virginia governor has taken such a sweeping action proves the power doesn't exist.

McAuliffe's administration and backers countered that there's nothing in the constitution that says that governors must restore a person's rights on a case-by-case basis.

But the Supreme Court rejected that argument Friday, calling it "overstated at best."

Republicans accused McAuliffe of trying to add more minorities to the voting rolls ahead of the November election to help his friend Hillary Clinton win the critical swing state of Virginia for the Democrats. Nearly 50 percent of those whose rights were restored are black, even though African-Americans make up just about 20 percent of Virginia's population, according to an analysis done by the governor's office.

Read more.

Court Orders Changes to Texas Voter ID Law | 07/21/16

AUSTIN, Texas - A federal appeals court ruled on July 20 that Texas' strict voter ID law violates the Voting Rights Act and ordered changes before the November election.

The ruling from the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals instructs a lower court to make changes that fix the "discriminatory effect" of the 2011 law, but to do so in a way that disrupts this year's election season as little as possible.

President Barack Obama's administration took the unusual step of deploying the weight of the U.S. Justice Department into the case when it challenged the law, which requires Texas residents to show one of seven forms of approved identification. The state and other supporters say the Texas law prevents fraud. Opponents say it discriminates by requiring forms of ID that are more difficult to obtain for low-income, African-American and Latino voters.

"We are extremely pleased with this outcome. This law will no longer prevent eligible voters from casting a ballot this November," attorney Gerry Herbert, a member of the legal team that challenged the law, said following Wednesday's ruling.

The Texas Democratic Party also immediately celebrated, declaring that "the most restrictive and discriminatory Republican voter ID law in country has been struck down."

The New Orleans-based 5th Circuit agreed to rehear the issue after a three-judge panel ruled last year that the law violated the Voting Rights Act.

Lawyers for Texas have argued that the state makes free IDs easy to obtain. They said any inconveniences or costs involved in getting one do not substantially burden the right to vote, and that the Justice Department and other plaintiffs had failed to prove that the law resulted in denying anyone the right to vote.

Read more.

ACLU Sues Kansas over Registration Rules | 07/20/16

WICHITA, Kan. -- The American Civil Liberties Union filed a class-action lawsuit on July 19 seeking to block a Kansas election rule that could throw out thousands of votes in state and local races by people who registered at motor vehicle offices or used a federal form without providing documents proving U.S. citizenship.

The temporary rule, sought by Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach and approved last week by the State Rules and Regulation Board, will count votes only for federal races by that segment of new Kansas voters through Nov. 8, the date of the general election.

It comes in response to a federal judge's recent decision that voters do not need to show citizenship papers to register for federal elections as required by a 2013 Kansas law.

If allowed to stand, thousands of Kansas voters will be denied their right to vote in state and local elections in a year when all 165 seats of the Kansas Legislature are up for election, the ACLU argued in its lawsuit.

As of this month, it would affect about 17,000 people who registered at state motor vehicle offices but didn't provide proof of citizenship, though as many as 50,000 prospective voters could be affected in the November election.

Read more.

Texas City Official Avoids Jail in Vote Fraud case | 07/13/16

A former Weslaco city commissioner has admitted to cheating to get re-elected in 2013. Lupe Rivera on July 11 pleaded guilty to a charge of unlawfully assisting a voter -- one of 16 counts he was charged with in a mail-in ballot fraud scheme.

In exchange for the plea, prosecutors dropped the other 15 charges, which included failing to properly mark mail-in ballots and other counts of unlawfully assisting voters. Rivera was sentenced to one year probation and fined 500 dollars. The accusations had been brought by Rivera's challenger in that 2013 District 5 race, Letty Lopez, who had lost by just 16 votes. When a judge ordered a new election, Lopez defeated Rivera by 39 votes.

Read more.

A Great Win for Election Integrity | 06/30/16

By Hans von Spakovsky

(June 30) Yesterday was a great day for election integrity and everyone (other than the Obama administration and its political allies) who wants to make sure non-citizens don't illegally vote in our elections.

Federal district-court judge Richard Leon issued an order Wednesday refusing to grant the injunction sought by the League of Women Voters (and the U.S. Justice Department to its everlasting shame) against the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) in litigation over a state requirement that individuals registering to vote provide proof of citizenship.

As I previously explained to readers of The Corner in February, several well-funded groups including the League and the NAACP filed a lawsuit trying to reverse a decision by the EAC granting the requests of Kansas, Georgia, and Alabama to modify the instructions on the federal voter registration form. The modification would notify residents of those states that they have to provide proof of citizenship if they use the federal form to register to vote.

The U.S. Justice Department, which is charged with defending federal agencies when they are sued, tried instead to throw the case. It came into court, to Judge Leon's great surprise, attempting to concede the case and agreeing to the temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction the plaintiffs wanted. Commissioner Christy McCormick, the chairwoman of the EAC, was so concerned over the Justice Department's misbehavior and potentially unethical conduct, that she sent a letter to Leon asking for permission to get outside counsel to represent the EAC. She expressed her "grave concerns regarding the potential conflict of interest and failure of the Department of justice to provide" the EAC with proper representation.

DOJ later requested (and got) a protective order sealing her deposition, which apparently included discussions of DOJ's potentially improper behavior and prior involvement in EAC decision-making. Makes you wonder what DOJ wants to hide. In February, Leon denied the request for a temporary restraining order. Yesterday in a 25-page opinion, he also denied the request for a preliminary injunction -- the same injunction the Justice Department wanted to agree to when it tried to lose the case.

Leon held that the plaintiffs had not proved they will suffer an irreparable harm from this change in instructions on the federal registration form. He obviously did not put much stock in their claim that this would damage them because their voter registration drives would be less successful and require more effort on their part to educate the public about the fact that you have to be a citizen to register to vote. But as Leon said, "let's be candid; doing so pales in comparison to explaining to the average citizen how the ACA or tax code works!"

Read more of ACRU Policy Board member Hans von Spakovsky's National Review article.


ACRU Sues Broward County over Inflated Voter Rolls | 06/30/16

Florida's Second Largest County Has More than 100 Percent of Residents Registered to Vote.

ALEXANDRIA, VA (June 28, 2016) --- The American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) has filed a lawsuit alleging that officials in Broward County, Florida, have violated federal election law by failing to maintain accurate voter registration.

"When a county has more people registered to vote than there are eligible residents, it's an open door for vote fraud," said ACRU Chairman/CEO Susan A. Carleson. "Corrupted voter rolls are the first step to vote fraud. Broward's Supervisor of Elections, Dr. Brenda Snipes, is not using all of the tools available to keep Florida elections clean."

The complaint, filed by the Public Interest Legal Foundation on ACRU's behalf on Monday, asks the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Fort Lauderdale Division, to find Broward's supervisor of elections in violation of Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (Motor Voter Law), "to implement reasonable and effective registration list maintenance," and to allow the ACRU to inspect voter records.

The lawsuit notes that the county of nearly two million people, with a non-citizen population of 256,430, has removed only 18 people from the voting rolls over the last five years for lacking U.S. citizenship. Also, that 106 percent of county residents were registered to vote in 2010, and 103 percent in 2014.

"Broward was one of four Florida counties that was asked to do a recount in the 2000 presidential election," Carleson said. "We think it's time they cleaned up their rolls before the next one."

The case is American Civil Rights Union and Andrea Frankel-Bellitto vs. Brenda Snipes. Andrea Frankel-Bellitto is a registered voter in Broward County.

The ACRU is the only private party to successfully sue under Motor Voter to clean up county voter rolls, winning consent decrees in Texas and Mississippi.

Judge Upholds 3 States' Proof of Citizenship for Voter Registration | 06/30/16

Residents of Kansas, Georgia and Alabama will have to prove they are U.S. citizens when registering to vote for federal elections using a national form, a judge ruled Wednesday.

U.S. District Judge Richard Leon sided against a coalition of voting rights groups that sued a U.S. elections official who changed the proof-of-citizenship requirements on the federal registration form at the request of the three states and without public notice. Residents of other states only need to swear that they are citizens, not show proof.

Leon refused to issue a temporary injunction sought by voting rights advocates to overturn the move by Brian Newby, the executive director of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, until the case can be decided on its merits at trial. No trial date has been set.

Read more.

ACRU: Voter ID Opponents Try End Run Around Court's Shelby Ruling | 06/21/16

ALEXANDRIA, VA (June 20, 2016) --- Opponents of North Carolina's voter photo ID law wrongly sought to use an illegal interpretation of the Voting Rights Act to attack North Carolina's election integrity law, the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) argues in a brief filed on June 16 at the Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

Regarding North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, et al. v. Patrick L. McCrory, et al., the brief, notes that a U.S. District Court rightly rejected the plaintiffs' claim that the law violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

In 2013, in Shelby County v. Holder, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, which had required Southern states and other jurisdictions to obtain preclearance from a D.C.-based court panel or from the U.S. Justice Department for any changes in districting or voting laws. The Court said the requirement was based on obsolete data and was no longer necessary, but left intact Section 2, which empowers the federal government to address discriminatory voting conditions in the states.

In the current case, the plaintiff attempted to make a purely statistical case of disparate impact that the law discriminates against minorities. The plaintiffs sought to use hair-trigger standards to strike down state laws that the Supreme Court invalidated in Shelby County.

"The appropriate standard is one that looks to the totality of the circumstances, as expressed in Section 2, and does not use statistical disparities between groups of voters to establish liability," the ACRU brief says.

The District Court's ruling upholding the law "is consistent with traditional Section 2 jurisprudence, does not conflict with Shelby County, and preserves the constitutional balance between states and the federal government," the brief states.

"The opponents of common-sense voter ID laws are attempting an end run around the Supreme Court," said Susan A. Carleson, Chairman/CEO of the ACRU. "The District Court got it right, and we are confident that North Carolina's law will stand in the appeals process."

Group Asks Judge to Bar North Dakota Voter ID Law | 06/21/16

FARGO -- A federal judge has been asked to temporarily block the enforcement of North Dakota's Voter Identification Law.

The request was filed by attorneys who represent members of the Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa. Earlier this year, they filed a lawsuit that claims North Dakota's voter ID requirements ''disproportionately burden and disenfranchise Native Americans.''

Court documents say an injunction would restore the right to cast ballots by signing an affidavit, or by a poll worker's personal knowledge of a voter's eligibility.

Attorneys want the injunction to remain in force until the lawsuit is settled.

North Dakota is the only state without voter registration. State law requires a driver's license, or tribal identification cards.

Read more.

Kobach Predicts Chaos if Court Order Stands in Kansas Case | 06/10/16

DENVER -- Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach contends massive voter confusion will occur if an appeals court doesn't block a lower court's order to register thousands of state residents for November's presidential election.

Kobach made the prediction in a document he filed with the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The dispute centers on residents who submit voter registration forms at Division of Motor Vehicles offices and don't provide proof of citizenship. A 2011 state law requires newly registering voters to provide proof of citizenship.

A preliminary injunction issued May 17 by U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson prohibits election officials from enforcing the proof of citizenship requirement for residents who register at DMV offices.

Robinson's order will take effect Tuesday if the Denver-based appeals court doesn't block it by issuing a stay. Kobach requested a stay in the document he filed May 28.

Attorneys for the League of Women Voters and American Civil Liberties Union on Wednesday opposed Kobach's request.

The dispute involves whether about 18,000 residents will be allowed to vote, court filings state.

Early voting for the primary election begins July 13.

Read more.

ACRU's Charles Cooper Sues Virginia Gov. McAuliffe over Felon Voting | 05/24/16

By Robert Knight

The Democrat felon voting express train in Virginia hit a sharp curve on Monday when Republican lawmakers went to the state's highest court to derail it.

Constitutional attorney Charles J. Cooper's law firm filed a lawsuit on behalf of Republican leaders in the Virginia legislature asking the state Supreme Court to block 206,000 felons from voting in November.

The lawsuit Howell v. McAuliffe states that Democrat Gov. Terry McAuliffe abused the separation of powers in an April 22 executive order that gives a blanket restoration to convicts who've completed their sentences.

McAuliffe is countermanding longtime policy, in which Virginia's governors have restored voting rights by individual cases, the suit states. The felons who received the blanket amnesty include inmates convicted of rape, murder, and other major offenses.

It's worth noting that McAuliffe, who served as a fundraiser for Bill and Hillary Clinton, ignored the fact that his two predecessors, Democrat Tim Kaine and Republican Bob McDonnell, both attempted blanket amnesty for some felons but abided by opinions from state attorneys general ruling this out as unconstitutional.

The current hyper-partisan attorney general, Democrat Mark Herring, who refused to defend the state's constitutional marriage amendment, has no such qualms, which is why the GOP leaders resorted to the lawsuit.

"In his blanket restoration, the Governor didn't consider the violence of the offense, the number of offenses, or whether the offender has paid his victim's medical bills," said a press release from Virginia 58th District delegate Rob Bell. "The executive order covers felons who are still on unsupervised probation. It makes 40,000 violent felons eligible to sit on juries, and is already being used by a defendant accused of murdering a state trooper to demand that these felons be included in his jury pool."

Read more of ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight's AmericanThinker.com article.

Virginia Assembly Republicans Sue Governor over Felon Voting | 05/23/16

Virginia Republicans on Monday asked the state's highest court to block more than 200,000 felons from voting in November, arguing that Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe abused his power by restoring the voting rights of thousands of convicts who've completed their sentences.

In a lawsuit GOP leaders filed in the Virginia Supreme Court, they say McAuliffe violated the separation of powers by effectively suspending the state's ban on voting by felons. They say McAuliffe is ignoring decades of practice, which has made clear that governors can restore voting rights only on a case-by-case basis.

"Gov. McAuliffe's executive order defines the plain text of the Constitution, flouts the separation of powers, and has no precedent in the annals of Virginia history. The governor simply may not, with the stroke of the pen, unilaterally suspend and amend the Constitution," their lawyers wrote in the suit.

The lawsuit is being brought by House Speaker William Howell and Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment along with four other Virginia voters.

They're asking the justices to prohibit election officials from registering felons and to cancel all such registrations since April 22. As of last week, election officials said nearly 4,000 felons had signed up to vote, media outlets reported.

Read more at NewsMax.


Judge Rules against Kansas Proof of Citizenship to Vote | 05/18/16

WICHITA -- A federal judge said Tuesday that Kansas can't require people to show proof of U.S. citizenship when registering to vote for federal elections at motor vehicle offices.

U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson ruled that the state's proof-of-citizenship requirements likely violate a provision in the National Voter Registration Act that requires only "minimal information" to determine a voter's eligibility. She ordered Kansas to register thousands of voters whose paperwork is on hold because they did not comply with the requirement. But she put her preliminary injunction on hold until May 31 to give the state a chance to appeal.

The state immediately said it would appeal. Unless a higher court halts Robinson's order before the end of the month, it would take effect then, clearing the way for those residents to cast a ballot in the upcoming federal elections.

Read more.

Supreme Court Refuses to Block Texas Voter ID Law -- for Now | 04/29/16

The Supreme Court on Friday rejected an emergency appeal to stop Texas from enforcing its challenged voter ID law. But the court said it could revisit the issue as the November elections approach.

The law has been in effect for recent elections, even after a trial judge struck it down in 2014 and an appellate panel found last year that the law had a discriminatory effect on minority voters.

The challengers in the ongoing lawsuit argue there is no reason to allow the requirement to show picture identification at the polls to remain in place.

But justices rejected the plea in a brief order Friday. The full New Orleans-based appeals court will hold a new hearing on the Texas law in May.

The high court said that it is aware of "the time constraints the parties confront in light of the scheduled elections." If the full appeals court has not issued a ruling by July 20, the court said, it would entertain a renewed emergency appeal over the voter ID law.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called the identification requirement a "common-sense law to provide simple protections to the integrity of our elections and the democratic process in our state." He said the state looked forward to defending the law in the appeals court next month.

Read more.

New Yorkers File Suit over Alleged Election Fraud | 04/19/16

More than 200 outraged New York voters have joined a lawsuit claiming the party affiliation on their voter registration changed without their consent. The voters say they are unfairly being shut out of Tuesday's primary.

The suit, filed Monday in Brooklyn, calls for New York to be an open primary state, allowing anyone to vote in primaries regardless of party affiliation.

"For many of our complainants, to have the electoral process deprived of them, it's devastating," Shyla Nelson, an activist and spokeswoman for Election Justice U.S.A., told the Daily News.

New York is one of 11 states that has a closed primary system and, due to an obscure election law, voters must have been registered by November of the previous year for the party whose primary they plan to vote in -- this is the earliest change-of-party deadline in the country.

Read more.

Texas Defends Voter ID Law at Supreme Court | 04/13/16

Arguing that its five-year-old law requiring voters to have a photo ID before they may cast a ballot will not deny anyone in Texas the right to vote, state officials urged the Supreme Court on Monday afternoon to allow the law to remain in effect while a federal appeals court conducts a new review of it.

If federal voting rights law would treat the requirement as illegal, the federal law would be unconstitutional under the Fifteenth Amendment, the state contended.

Read more of Lyle Denniston's post at SCOTUSBlog.

ACRU Sues Philadelphia over Voter Records | 04/07/16

The ACRU is suing Philadelphia over city officials' refusal to open voter registration records for public inspection as required by federal law.

In a complaint filed April 4 in U.S. District Court under Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (Motor Voter Law), the ACRU seeks "specific records... to ascertain why Defendants have implausible percentages of active registrants as compared to age-eligible United States citizens who live in Philadelphia."

Specifically, the ACRU seeks a court order finding the city in violation of NVRA, and requiring officials to allow inspection of voter registration records and the various means by which the city is supposed to be updating them. The ACRU had requested access to the records in a January letter to city officials.

Philadelphia voter rolls have contained an implausible number of registrants over the years with the total registered nearly exceeding the number of eligible citizens in Philadelphia. The ACRU seeks to examine why this is occurring and what can be done to ensure that only eligible citizens are voting in Philadelphia elections.

Read more.

Group: Philly's Voter Rolls Are Abnormally and Suspiciously Large | 04/07/16

By Victor Fiorello

It seems like every time there is an election in Philadelphia, there are allegations of shenanigans soon to follow, with the good ol' saying "vote early and vote often" being a staple of our democratic process. But one group isn't waiting until after the April 26th primary to cry foul. They've already filed a lawsuit.

The Virginia-based American Civil Rights Union is the right wing's answer to the left's American Civil Liberties Union. Founded by late Reagan administration advisor Robert Carleson and with a board that includes anti-porn and anti-drug crusader Edwin Meese, the ACRU has gone to court against Obamacare and in favor of gun owners and the formerly anti-gay Boy Scouts. And now the ACRU has come to Philadelphia with some pointed questions about our voter registration numbers.

ACRU filed a federal lawsuit against the City Commissioners Office, the municipal body in charge of our elections, claiming that it hasn't bothered to respond to a January letter that the organization sent demanding access to voter registration records here. The ACRU says the letter was sent by certified mail, and in failing to reply, ACRU maintains that the city is in violation of the National Voter Registration Act.

Read more at Phillymag.com

Supreme Court Got It Wrong: Noncitizens Shouldn't Be Counted | 04/05/16

By Hans von Spakovsky and Elizabeth Slattery

In a loss for voters, the Supreme Court has ruled unanimously against two residents of Texas who had argued that the Texas legislature diluted their votes when it used total population to redraw state Senate districts.

In Evenwel v. Abbott, the Supreme Court allowed states to use total population in redrawing district lines, even though that this includes a large number of noncitizens (legal and illegal), felons, and others who are ineligible to vote.

Sue Evenwel and Edward Pfenninger challenged the state Senate districts drawn by the Texas legislature using total population in 2013.They claimed that both the number of citizens of voting age and the number of registered voters in their districts deviated substantially--between 31 and 49 percent--from the "ideal" population of a Texas Senate district. They argued that this disparity significantly diluted their votes in comparison to those of voters who live in districts with large numbers of non-voters.

According to this logic, their votes were worth roughly half those of voters in other districts. In other words, they claimed that their Senate districts had the same number of representatives as other districts that contained the same number of people but only half the number of eligible voters.

This is a particular problem in Texas, which has almost two million illegal aliens, about seven percent of the state's population.

Read more.

Supreme Court: Count Illegals in Legislative Districting | 04/05/16

A unanimous Supreme Court ruled Monday that illegal immigrants and other noncitizens can be counted when states draw their legislative districts, shooting down a challenge by Texas residents who said their own voting power was being diluted.

The ruling does not grant noncitizens the power to vote, but says the principle of one person, one vote doesn't require localities to only count those who are actually eligible to vote when they are deciding how many people to put inside of each district.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, writing for the court, said even though only eligible voters are supposed to cast ballots, elected officials represent all people within their districts, and it is that act of representation, not the election itself, that the boundaries are drawn to.

Read more in the Washington Times.

Court Date Set for Texas Voter ID Law | 03/31/16

A May 24th court date has been set to re-hear the case surrounding the Texas Voter ID law.

In August, the 5th Circuit Court of Appeal ruled the law violates part of the Voting Rights Acts. However a majority of the full, 15-member court wants to reconsider the case.

The voter ID law requires millions of registered voters to show a picture ID at the polls.

Read more.

ACLU Sues Kansas over Proof-of-Citizenship Voting Law | 03/19/16

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Tens of thousands of people in Kansas are being deprived of their right to vote, the American Civil Liberties Union argued in a lawsuit filed on Feb. 18 that challenged a state law requiring residents to show proof of citizenship when they register to vote.

The suit is the latest to take direct aim at a three-year-old measure ushered into law by Secretary of State Kris W. Kobach, who has lobbied heavily over the years for measures that he said were needed to prevent non-citizens from casting ballots.

The ACLU, arguing that fraud claims were unfounded, brought the class-action suit in federal court on behalf of six Kansas residents who said they were left off the voter rolls after registering at the state's Department of Motor Vehicles.

Passed by its Republican-dominated legislature five years ago, the law requires residents to show proof of citizenship when they register.

Read more.

Non-Citizen Voting Case Pits Justice Department Against States that Require Proof-of-Citizenship | 03/15/16

By Hans von Spakovsky

The free-for-all boxing match between the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), the League of Women Voters, the NAACP, Kansas, and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) resumed on Wednesday, March 9.

They're tussling over the right of states to require proof-of-citizenship from people using the federal voter registration form.

In Courtroom 18 of the D.C. federal courthouse, Judge Richard Leon presided over a sometimes contentious hearing on the plaintiffs' request for a preliminary injunction that would rescind the Election Assistance Commission's change of the instructions on the federal voter registration form to accommodate a request by Kansas. The Sunflower State wants the form to note that Kansans wishing to register must meet a proof-of-citizenship requirement.

At the first hearing in this case on Feb. 22, Leon refused to grant a temporary restraining order requested by the League of Women Voters and the NAACP, the plaintiffs who don't want the Election Assistance Commission to mention proof-of-citizenship.

Justice Department Unwilling to Defend Election Assistance Commission

Normally, the Justice Department would be expected to defend the Election Assistance Commission in court. Instead, the Justice Department lawyers tried to throw the case by agreeing to a temporary restraining order. Leon expressed astonishment at the Department of Justice's behavior, calling it "unprecedented" and "extraordinary."

Rather than take that as a warning about the Department of Justice's potentially unethical and unprofessional behavior in refusing to carry out its duty to defend its client, the Federal Programs Branch came into this week's hearing once again trying to lose the case.

Read more of ACRU Policy Board member Hans von Spakovsky's Daily Signal article.

No Voters Denied Due to Photo ID Law, former Virginia Officials Testify | 03/12/16

Several former state and local election officials testified in federal court that they were not aware of any eligible voter who has been denied the right to cast a ballot because of Virginia's photo voter ID requirement enacted in 2013.

"None," said Cameron Quinn, a former state elections official who from 2011 until last year was the general registrar for Fairfax County, testifying on March 1 in the sixth day of a trial before U.S. District Judge Henry E. Hudson in a lawsuit filed by the Democratic Party of Virginia and two voters challenging the state law. Fairfax is the state's largest jurisdiction and has 700,000 registered voters.

Justin Riemer, a former member of the Virginia State Board of Elections and Donald Palmer, the former secretary of the board, also testified that they were not aware of anyone unable to vote because of the photo requirement.

Read more.

Virginia Voter Photo ID Law Challenged in Court | 03/01/16

A Virginia law requiring voters to show photo identification went on trial in federal court on Feb. 22, challenged by Democratic Party activists who allege it throws up barriers to voting by minorities and the poor.

Lawyers defending the 2013 Virginia law said it prevented voter fraud. The trial in U.S. District Court is one of several voting rights legal battles as Democrats and Republicans square off before November's presidential and congressional elections.

The Democratic Party of Virginia and two party activists are suing the Virginia State Board of Elections and want Judge Henry Hudson to strike down the law.

Attorney Bruce Spiva, representing those challenging the measure, said the photo ID law was an effort to hamper the Democratic Party in the state.

It creates "irrational hoops that people have to jump through" and has a "disproportional impact on people of color," Spiva said.

Mark Hearne, an independent counsel for the state attorney general, dismissed the allegations.

"It is impossible to show a suppressive effect on minorities from the photo ID law," Hearne said. He added the law was an effort to protect against voter fraud.

Read more.

A Big Win for Election Integrity | 02/24/16

By Hans A. von Spakovsky

Electoral integrity has scored big -- District of Columbia federal district court Judge Richard Leon just issued an order denying the request by the NAACP, the League of Women Voters, and the U.S. Justice Department for a temporary restraining order (TRO). Thus, there will be no TRO preventing the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) from instructing residents of Alabama, Georgia, and Kansas that they must comply with state laws requiring proof-of-citizenship when they register to vote.

Judge Leon said in a four-page order that because "the registration deadlines for the Alabama and Georgia primaries and for the Kansas Republican Caucus had already passed at the time this TRO motion was filed . . . and that the effects of the [EAC's] actions on the ongoing registration process for the Kansas Democratic Caucus . . . are uncertain at best, plaintiffs have not demonstrated they will suffer irreparable harm" before the scheduled March 9 hearing on the request for a Preliminary Injunction. Judge Leon was also "not yet convinced that plaintiffs have demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on the merits and looks forward to the benefit of full, adversarial briefing on the complex and important issues this case presents."

This is a tremendous victory, particularly given the questionable conduct of the Justice Department, which came into court on Monday refusing to defend the actions of the EAC and saying it would consent not only to a TRO, but to a preliminary injunction. Judge Leon castigated DOJ during the hearing and added a footnote to his four-page order about the behavior of Justice after he said he expects a "full, adversarial briefing."

Read more of ACRU Policy Board member Hans von Spakovsky's National Review article.

Obama Administration Fighting Efforts to Keep Non-Citizens from Voting | 02/21/16

By Hans von Spakovsky

Several well-funded organizations -- including the League of Women Voters and the NAACP -- are fighting efforts to prevent non-citizens from voting illegally in the upcoming presidential election. And the United States Department of Justice, under the direction of Attorney General Loretta Lynch, is helping them.

On February 12, these groups filed a lawsuit in D.C. federal court seeking to reverse a recent decision by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC). The Commission's decision allows Kansas and other states, including Arizona and Georgia, to enforce state laws ensuring that only citizens register to vote when they use a federally designed registration form.

An initial hearing in the case is set for Monday afternoon, February 22. Under federal law, the EAC is responsible for designing the federal voter-registration form required by the National Voter Registration Act, or Motor Voter, as it is commonly called. While states must register voters who use the federal form, states can ask the EAC to include instructions with the federal form about additional state registration requirements. Some states are now requiring satisfactory proof of citizenship to ensure that only citizens register to vote.

Read more of ACRU Policy Board member Hans von Spakovsky's National Review article.

Judge Won't Suspend Alabama Voter Photo ID Law | 02/19/16

MONTGOMERY (AP) A federal judge will not suspend Alabama's photo voter identification requirement in the upcoming elections.

U.S. District Court Judge L. Scott Coogler Wednesday denied Wednesday a preliminary injunction sought by groups that challenged the law requiring voters to present photo identification.

The groups had asked the judge to expand the state's alternative identification process so people without photo identification can vote if they present certain documents or identification.

Coogler said he would not use a backdoor method to effectively do away with the photo identification requirement that took effect in 2014.

Coogler also said plaintiffs offered no convincing reason why obtaining a valid photo ID is an undue burden.

Read more.

Closing Arguments Begin in North Carolina Voter ID Trial | 02/01/16

Closing arguments are set to begin this afternoon in the closely watched federal trial on North Carolina's photo ID requirement.

Janet Thornton, a labor economist at Economic Research Services in Florida, was the last witness that state attorneys called. Plaintiffs, including the N.C. NAACP, rested their case Thursday.

The photo ID requirement was passed in 2013 as part of a sweeping elections law that state Republican legislators pushed soon after the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated a key section of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. That section required mostly southern states and 40 counties in North Carolina to seek federal approval of major changes in elections laws.

Voting rights activists consider North Carolina's election law, known as the Voter Information Verification Act, to be one of the most restrictive in the country. The photo ID requirement didn't take effect until this year and was amended last year just weeks before a federal trial on other provisions of the law.

The N.C. NAACP, the U.S. Department of Justice and others filed a federal lawsuit in 2013, alleging that the elections law places undue burdens on blacks and Hispanics, is unconstitutional and violates the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

Thornton was called to criticize the work of one of the plaintiffs' experts -- Charles Stewart, a professor of political science at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Stewart testified last week that based on his analysis matching databases from the State Board of Elections and the Department of Motor Vehicles, blacks were twice more likely to lack a photo ID than whites.

Thornton testified that Stewart's methodology was flawed and that it was hard to know exactly how many people did not have a photo ID. She also testified that his analysis failed to account for voters who were later removed from voter registration rolls or were considered inactive.

Read more.

Judge Rejects Insanity Defense in Voter Fraud Case | 01/15/16

MILWAUKEE (WTAQ) - A judge is not buying a suburban Milwaukee man's claim that he was insane when he voted 13 times in six elections in 2011 and '12.

51-year-old Robert Monroe of Shorewood pleaded no contest Monday to six felony election fraud charges.

After a two-day sanity trial, Milwaukee County Circuit Judge Dennis Cimpl ruled Wednesday that Monroe knew he was voting illegally -- and he'll go to prison instead of a mental institution when he's sentenced February 26th.

The judge refused to accept a doctor's claim that Monroe had a dissociative disorder when he voted five times for Governor Scott Walker in his 2012 recall election.

Read more.

ACRU Wins Consent Decree in Third Mississippi County to Clean Up Voter Rolls | 11/30/15

ALEXANDRIA, VA (Nov. 30, 2015) - The American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) has settled its federal lawsuit against the Clarke County, Mississippi Election Commission, marking the third time a Mississippi county has agreed by consent decree to clean up its voter rolls.

In July, ACRU, represented by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), sued the county because it has more voters on the rolls than living citizens. The lawsuit, filed by PILF and Mississippi attorney Henry Ross, alleged a violation of Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which requires maintenance of accurate voter rolls.

In 2013, the ACRU secured Section 8 agreements with Walthall and Jefferson Davis counties, and two weeks ago, on Nov. 12, sued a fourth Mississippi county, Noxubee, over its corrupted voter rolls.

The agreement between the parties was approved by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Hattiesburg Division, on Nov. 25. The agreement requires the Commission to begin identifying and removing voters who are no longer eligible to vote in Clarke County as early as April 2016.

The ACRU originally notified the Commission by letter in June 2014 that its voter rolls were potentially in violation of federal election law. According to U.S. Census data and other public records, Clarke County, Mississippi had 12,646 registered voters, despite having a voting-age population of only 12,549. The Commission never responded to the notice letter.

The agreement also requires the Commission to periodically notify the ACRU in writing about the Commission's efforts to clean up its voter rolls.

"Corrupted voter rolls have been a problem in Clarke County for years," said ACRU Policy Board member J. Christian Adams, who is president and general counsel of the Public Interest Legal Foundation. "This settlement is a positive step towards a cure and should give Mississippians confidence that their legitimate votes will not be cancelled out by an ineligible voter."

The Obama Justice Department has shut down enforcement of Section 8 of the NVRA and thus allowed voters rolls around the nation to remain corrupted and filled with ineligible registrations. The ACRU is the only private party under NVRA to successfully sue to clean up county voter rolls.

Kennedy Halts Race-Based Hawaiian Election | 11/30/15


ALEXANDRIA, VA (Nov. 30) - Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy has issued an emergency injunction to stop a race-based election in Hawaii, as per a request in a brief filed by the American Civil Rights Union.

"The government has been operating a brazenly racially based voter registration process," the brief states.

Kennedy's order, issued on Nov. 27, enjoins the state from counting ballots or determining winners until he or the court further rules. Submitted on behalf of the ACRU by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), the brief in Akina, et al. v. State of Hawaii notes that this is the second time that Hawaii has conducted a racially exclusionary election. The last time, appeals courts did not have time to review the law thoroughly before the election took place.

"The election of delegates [to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs] had occurred and tens of thousands of Hawaiian residents were denied the right to vote," the brief states. "This court must not let that happen again...."

Eventually, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Hawaii's justifications for having racially exclusive rolls and elections and declared that such ancestry tests violated the 15th Amendment, which bans racial tests by governments to register to vote and participate in the political process.

The plaintiffs in this case, who are Hawaiian residents, are asking the Supreme Court to issue an injunction to halt the election until a full appellate review is conducted and thus prevent Hawaii from getting away with an unconstitutional voter registration test a second time.

"The Supreme Court's language in Rice v. Cayetano (2000) is sweeping in scope and unforgiving to racial tests to register to vote," said J. Christian Adams, ACRU Policy Board member and president of PILF. "The right to register to vote on a government-run registration roll without passing an ancestry test is a fundamental Constitutional right. Hawaii escaped full review of this policy once before. It should not happen twice."

ACRU Asks Supreme Court to Stop Race-Based Registration and Election | 11/24/15

ALEXANDRIA, VA (Nov. 24) --- An emergency injunction is needed to stop a race-based election now underway in Hawaii and ending Nov. 30, a brief filed today at the U.S. Supreme Court by the American Civil Rights Union argues.

"The government has been operating a brazenly racially based voter registration process," the brief states.
Submitted on behalf of the ACRU by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), the brief in Akina, et al. v. State of Hawaii notes that this is the second time that Hawaii has conducted a racially exclusionary election. The last time, appeals courts did not have time to review the law thoroughly before the election took place.

"The election of delegates [to the Office of Hawaiian Affairs] had occurred and tens of thousands of Hawaiian residents were denied the right to vote," the brief states. "This court must not let that happen again...."

Eventually, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Hawaii's justifications for having racially exclusive rolls and elections and declared that such ancestry tests violated the 15th Amendment, which bans racial tests by governments to register to vote and participate in the political process.

The plaintiffs in this case, who are Hawaiian residents, are asking the Supreme Court to issue an injunction to halt the election until a full appellate review is conducted and thus prevent Hawaii from getting away with an unconstitutional voter registration test a second time.

Read more.

ACRU Sues Notorious Mississippi County | 11/18/15

ALEXANDRIA, VA (Nov. 16, 2015) -- The American Civil Rights Union on Thursday, Nov. 12, filed a lawsuit against a fourth Mississippi county for its corrupted voter registration rolls.

This time, it was against Noxubee County, which has a long history of vote fraud and voter intimidation.

As with the other three counties, voter rolls maintained by Noxubee contain more people registered to vote than citizens eligible to vote, according to the lawsuit, filed on ACRU's behalf by the Public Interest Legal Foundation. The complaint argues that Noxubee County's election commission is violating Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Northern Division.

The ACRU's Mississippi legal campaign is having a demonstrative effect on other counties. New data show that since 2010, the number of counties with more registered voters than eligible residents has dropped considerably.

In 2013, the ACRU won consent decrees in federal court for Walthall and Jefferson Davis counties to clean up their voter rolls. It was the first time in history that a private party had sued under the NVRA (better known as Motor Voter) and reached a consent decree to compel counties to clean up their voter rolls. In July, the ACRU sued Clarke County for having corrupt voter rolls.

ACRU's review of databases revealed that as of 2015, more than 110 percent of Noxubee's voting-eligible citizens are registered. This strongly indicates the county has failed to purge the names of people who died, moved away or were convicted of disenfranchising felonies.

Federal Lawsuits Stay Alive over North Carolina Voter ID Law | 11/04/15

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. -- A federal judge has refused to dismiss portions of federal lawsuits challenging North Carolina's upcoming voter identification requirement, setting up a likely trial early next year.

U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Schroeder denied the motion from attorneys for the state during a court hearing Oct. 18 in Winston-Salem. The state wrote that the voter ID claims filed in 2013 by civil rights groups, voters and the federal government are moot because the legislature eased the photo identification requirement that begins in 2016.

The plaintiffs argued the modified voter ID mandate still threatens to burden black and Hispanic voters, who are less likely to have qualifying IDs.

Photo ID is supposed to begin with the March 15 primary.

Read more.

Tough Kansas Voter ID Laws Trigger Lawsuits | 10/20/15

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - Secretary of State Kris Kobach's successful push to require new Kansas voters to document their U.S. citizenship has spawned three lawsuits, including one he pursued against a federal agency in trying to enforce the policy.

Kansas is one of only four states that make new voters show a birth certificate, passport or other citizenship papers. The Kansas requirement took effect in 2013, and Kobach has directed county election officials to cancel more than 31,000 incomplete registrations, most from people who've failed to comply with the requirement.

Read more.

ACLU Loses Bid to Expand Wisconsin Voter IDs | 10/20/15

A federal district court on Tuesday refused to expand the kinds of identification voters can use, rejecting the arguments made by a special interest group that aimed to make voting easier for students, veterans and people with out-of-state driver's licenses.

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a lawsuit against Wisconsin's voter ID law earlier this year, claiming the law was unconstitutional due to its limitations.

The ACLU asked the court Oct. 5 to expand the law to include IDs for veterans, IDs for technical college students and out-of-state driver's licenses. They argued the law arbitrarily excluded those classes of people.

District Judge Lynn Adelman rejected the ACLU's arguments in his decision. Adelman explained that a line must be drawn between acceptable and unacceptable forms of ID, otherwise the state would have to create and maintain an infinite list.

Adelman believed the logistics of expanding the list of acceptable forms of ID could hinder the state's capability of administering the law, but also conceded the state could have added veteran's IDs to the list.

"To be sure, Wisconsin probably could have included veteran's ID on the list ... without significantly increasing its administrative burden," Adelman said in his opinion. "However ... the state had to draw the line between acceptable and unacceptable forms of ID somewhere."

Read more.

Texas: Birth Certificate Lawsuit a Ruse to Validate Foreign ID's | 10/05/15

Attorneys for the state of Texas argued in federal court in Austin on Oct. 2 that a lawsuit joined by dozens of undocumented Texans has nothing to do with their U.S.-born children being denied birth certificates by the state vital statistics unit. Instead, the attorneys claimed, the suit is a ruse to compel the state to accept Mexican consulate-issued identification.

"This is more about the legitimacy of the matricula, I'm just throwing that out there," argued Thomas Albright, an assistant attorney general for the state, referring to the contested form of photo identification that Department of State Health Services (DSHS) says it will not accept, and has never accepted, as proof of identity for undocumented parents seeking birth certificates for their American-born kids.

Oct. 2 was the first time attorneys have appeared in court over the lawsuit, which was originally filed in May by four undocumented women from the Rio Grande Valley who allege that the state has wrongly denied them access to their children's documents. They allege that in previous years, the state accepted the matricula consular for their now-older children as part of a selection of documents parents could use to prove their relationship. The matricula is a photo ID that the Mexican consulate issues to Mexican nationals living in the United States.

Read more.

One Person, One Vote: Advancing Electoral Equality, not Equality of Representation | 09/11/15

By Hans von Spakovsky and Elizabeth Slattery

The Supreme Court has held that the Fourteenth Amendment's Equal Protection Clause includes a "one-person, one-vote" guarantee requiring voting districts to be drawn "on a basis that will insure...that equal numbers of voters can vote for proportionally equal numbers of officials."

So far, states have been free to choose which population category to use, such as total population, voting-age population, citizen voting-age population, citizen-eligible voting-age population, or some variant thereof, as long as the Constitution does not forbid it. Now, in what may be the most important voting case in 50 years, Evenwel v. Abbott, the Supreme Court is presented in its October 2015 term with the chance to clarify whether the "one person, one vote" principle includes a judicially enforceable right to ensure that voters are not denied an equal vote.

Read more of this Heritage paper.

ACLU Moves to Strike Down Kansas Citizenship Voting Rule | 09/09/15

The American Civil Liberties Union and Secretary of State Kris Kobach jockeyed for legal advantage Friday in a court case challenging Kobach's implementation of the state's voter proof-of-citizenship law.

Representing Kansas voters who can cast ballots in federal races, but not state and local elections, the ACLU filed a motion for summary judgment that would strike down Kobach's two-tier voting system without a trial.

Nearly simultaneously, Kobach filed a motion that would allow him to immediately appeal a judge's ruling that he overstepped his authority by dividing voters into two voting camps, those who registered using a state form and those who registered using a federal form.

The case is important because it could let people work around a state law - authored by Kobach - that requires prospective registrants to show documents proving their citizenship before they are granted voting privileges.

The proof-of-citizenship requirement is separate from the requirement that voters have to show photo ID when they cast a ballot.

While a driver's license is sufficient for Election Day voter ID, the state's voter-registration form requires a higher level of documentation. That can usually be met only with a birth certificate, passport, or special papers issued to foreign-born and tribal citizens.

The federal registration form accepts a sworn statement from the voter, signed under penalty of perjury, as proof of citizenship. At Kobach's direction, only voters who can document proof of citizenship are allowed to vote in all federal, state and local elections.

Voters who register with the federal form without providing their citizenship papers are only allowed to vote in federal races for president and members of Congress.

Read more.

Texas Seeks Full Court Rehearing on Voter ID Law | 09/09/15

Texas has asked the full bench of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to rehear civil rights plaintiffs' case against the state's voter ID law after a three-judge panel from the same court ruled that the law discriminates.

Because the state's request for a rehearing is pending, and since Texas may also seek a hearing at the U.S. Supreme Court, the Fifth Circuit in a Sept. 2 order rejected civil rights plaintiffs' proposals to have the litigation remanded to the trial court, where a judge could have ordered Texas to immediately start changing how it identifies voters.

"We will get those decisions pretty quickly," Rolando Rios, of San Antonio's Law Office of Rolando L. Rios, said about the rulings on the en banc Fifth Circuit and Supreme Court hearings. Rios represents the Texas Association of Hispanic County Judges and County Commissioners, which is an intervening plaintiff in the litigation.

But the U.S. Department of Justice, which has sided with the civil rights plaintiffs in the litigation, wants to avoid any wait for Texas to redo its voter ID procedures. To that end, the DOJ also filed on Sept. 2 a motion requesting that the Fifth Circuit enter an injunction directing Texas to accept as sufficient valid voter registration certificates from voters who lack the specific list of documentation required under the law SB-14, which the Fifth Circuit's three-judge panel struck down. Passed in 2011, SB-14 requires voters to show specific government-issued photo identifications. Among the identifications the law allows voters to show: driver's licenses, concealed handgun licenses, U.S. military identifications, U.S. passports or other U.S. citizenship certificates.

Read more.


Fix Sought for Texas Voter ID Law Before Fall Elections | 08/24/15

AUSTIN -- The Obama administration and several civil rights groups are urging a federal appeals court to fast-track the process of temporarily fixing Texas' voter ID law in time for the Nov. 3 elections.

In court filings Thursday, the Justice Department and civil rights groups asked the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to allow a lower court to immediately start working on an interim remedy to the law passed in 2011 by the state's Republican-led Legislature.

A three-judge panel at the 5th Circuit ruled in part earlier this month that Texas' strict voter ID measure violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

The 5th Circuit bounced a portion of the case back to a federal court in Corpus Christi and instructed it to correct the law ahead of the upcoming elections while the rest of the case works through the courts. The 5th Circuit noted the lower court should craft a remedy that would "avoid election eve uncertainties and emergencies."

However, the 5th Circuit is set to retain jurisdiction of the case until Sept. 28.

The Justice Department and the civil rights groups argue that timeline might not allow for an interim solution to be put in place across the state for early voting, which starts Oct. 19. They've asked the 5th Circuit to allow the federal court in Corpus Christi to come up with a fix earlier.

Read more.

Justice Department May Try to Settle ID Part of Voter Law Suit | 08/20/15

CHARLOTTE --The U.S. Justice Department and others suing over North Carolina's 2013 election overhaul are looking to settle one part of their case: voter ID.

Republican state lawmakers watered down the ID provision this summer, just before a federal trial on the overhaul began. Now there's a list of acceptable excuses for not having an ID, including lack of transportation or disability. So the Justice Department, the League of Women Voters and other plaintiffs are finalizing a settlement offer for that part of the case.

Read more.

How the Latest Federal Court Ruling Affects Texas' Voter ID Law | 08/07/15

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) - A federal appeals court declared that Texas' strict 2011 voter ID law has a "discriminatory effect" on minorities and violates the Voting Rights Act. But the three-judge panel's unanimous, 49-page decision also overturned a lower court's previous assertion that the law amounted to an unconstitutional "poll tax." Here's a closer look at the Wednesday ruling, the law and where the case stands now.

Read more.

Will Supreme Court End Political Subsidy to Illegal Aliens? | 08/06/15

By J. Christian Adams

The United States Supreme Court has been asked to end a political subsidy to aliens through the use of alien population in allocating legislative seats. In a case arising out of the decision by Texas to count aliens -- illegal and legal -- in drawing legislative districts, the Supreme Court will hear arguments on whether using aliens violates the principle of "one person, one vote."

The case is Evenwel vs. Abbott.

Currently, many states count aliens when establishing the population of legislative districts, therefore diluting the legislative clout of citizens. Legislative districts -- whether for Congress, a state legislature, or a county council -- must be more or less equal in population.

The case before the Supreme Court will decide what population must be used to calculate that "population." If Texas prevails, illegal aliens and noncitizens may be counted. This means areas with high alien population will dilute the legislative clout of areas where the residents are almost all citizens.

Read more of ACRU Policy Board member J. Christian Adams' PJ Media column.

ACRU Files Suit against Third Mississippi County | 07/31/15

ALEXANDRIA, VA --- The American Civil Rights Union on July 27 filed a complaint in federal court against another Mississippi county that has corrupted and inflated voter registrations.

Voter rolls maintained by Clarke County actually contain more people registered to vote than citizens eligible to vote. The complaint argues that Clarke County's election commission is violating Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). It was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Hattiesburg Division.

"Clarke County has had longstanding problems maintaining plausible numbers of registrants on the rolls," the complaint filed against the Clarke County Election Commission says. "During the 2010 federal general election, over 101 percent of living citizens eligible to vote in Clarke County were registered to vote."

ACRU's review of databases revealed that as of 2015, more than 100 percent of Clarke's voting-eligible citizens were registered. This strongly indicates the county has failed to purge the names of people who had died, moved away or been convicted of disenfranchising felonies.

Read more.

Group Files Lawsuit against County over Voter Rolls | 07/31/15

The American Civil Rights Union has filed a federal lawsuit against Clarke County claiming the county has more voters on its rolls than living citizens of voting age.

The lawsuit was filed Monday in U.S. District Court in Mississippi against the Clarke County Election Commission.

The lawsuit says: "Voter rolls maintained by the Defendant for Clarke County contain more voters registered to vote than citizens eligible to vote. In March 2015... Clarke County, Mississippi had 12,646 registered voters, despite having a voting age population of only 12,549 according to the United States Census. More than 100 percent of living citizens old enough to vote were registered to vote in Clarke County in 2015."

The lawsuit alleges that the Election Commission has failed to provide required maintenance of the county's voting rolls.

Clarke County Circuit Clerk Beth Jordan said the county is in the process, along with the Board of Supervisors attorney, of working with the ACRU to address voter rolls problems or concerns.

Read more.

Symposium: Does "one person, one vote" really mean what it says? | 07/28/15


By Hans von Spakovsky, ACRU Policy Board member, in SCOTUSblog

Evenwel v. Abbott may wind up being the most important voting case in sixty years. Its political ramifications could rival those of Reynolds v. Sims, the 1964 case that established the principle of "one person, one vote" under the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The key question in Evenwel is what population does that principle require legislatures to use when they are redrawing legislative districts?

Prior to Reynolds, states like Alabama and Tennessee had refused to redistrict for more than half a century, despite a dramatic, nationwide population shift from rural to urban areas. These state legislatures were dominated by rural legislators, who were not willing to reapportion and lose their power and control.

Under the principle established in Reynolds, districts have to be drawn "on a basis that will insure, as far as is practicable, that equal numbers of voters can vote for proportionally equal numbers of officials." Within two years of the Reynolds decision, legislative districts had been redrawn in almost every state, and urban areas gained a substantial number of legislative seats.

Today, lawmakers from urban areas dominate many state legislatures because of the huge influx of non-citizens, both legal and illegal, into predominantly urban settings. This greatly increases the population of non-voters who can be and are used to fill in urban legislative districts. If the Court rules for the plaintiffs, there could be a similar loss of clout by urban areas that rural districts experienced after Reynolds.

In this case, Sue Evenwel and Edward Pfenninger are contesting the state senate districts drawn by the Texas legislature in 2013. The legislature used total population in determining whether the population of each senate district met equal protection requirements. Evenwel, a registered voter in Senate District 1, and Pfenninger, a registered voter in Senate District 4, filed suit because both the number of citizens of voting age and the number of registered voters in these two districts deviate substantially - between thirty-one and forty-nine percent - from the "ideal" population of a Texas senate district.

Read more.

North Carolina Voter Law Trial Gets Underway | 07/14/15

RALEIGH, N.C. - Changes to North Carolina's voting access rules finally went to trial this week. A judge ultimately will determine whether Republican legislators illegally diminished the opportunity for minorities to participate in the political process or acted to protect election integrity.

The U.S. Justice Department, voting and civil rights groups and individuals sued soon after the General Assembly approved an elections overhaul law in summer 2013. After interim arguments reached the U.S. Supreme Court last fall, the trial began Monday and is expected to last two to three weeks addresses the crux of the allegations.

Attorneys representing those who sued contend the restrictions violate the federal Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution by throwing up large electoral obstacles to minority voters historically subjected to racial bias and should be thrown out.

Attorneys for the state and Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, who signed the law, say there's no evidence the law will diminish the ability of black citizens to elect who they want representing them. None of the restrictions are barred by the Constitution, according to a brief previewing their case, and black voter participation increased during the 2014 elections- - when changes were first implemented -- compared to the 2010 elections.

Read more.

Crucial Texas Voting Case to Be Heard | 05/27/15

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 26, 2015) -- The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a challenge to states giving more political power to areas with high illegal alien populations.

In a brief filed in March, the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) argued that Texas and a U.S. District Court erred in approving state senate districts based on "total population" rather than on eligible citizen voters. "Total population" includes illegal aliens.

Counting non-voters, including illegal aliens, when assessing the size of senate districts, gives citizens living in areas with high numbers of illegal aliens more senate seats than areas with mostly U.S. citizens, the ACRU says in the brief, filed on behalf of the plaintiffs in Evenwel and Pfenninger v. Abbott et al.

The ACRU brief, which includes hard evidence that non-citizens are registering to vote, notes that even the United States Department of Justice uses only citizen population in allocating legislative seats in redistricting litigation.

"The current Texas method violates the one-man, one-vote concept that ensures fair elections," said ACRU President Susan A. Carleson. "We're pleased that the Court is taking the case."

New Hampshire Supreme Court Strikes Down Voter ID Law | 05/18/15

CONCORD, N.H. --The New Hampshire Supreme Court on May 15 upheld a lower court ruling that struck down a 2012 voter registration law, saying language that links voting to getting a driver's license is unconstitutional and could discourage some people from casting ballots.

The court, in a unanimous decision, said because the language is confusing and inaccurate, and because it could cause an otherwise qualified voter not to register to vote in New Hampshire, "the burden it imposes upon the fundamental right to vote is unreasonable."

Read more.

Playing the Race Card in Court | 05/18/15

There's more racism afoot in the land, and it fits the soft bigotry of lowered expectations.

Did you know that minorities need more than a full month in which to cast a vote? And they can't be expected to show a photo ID like other voters. That would be asking too much of them.

Who, you might ask, is perpetrating this libel about the missing adulthood of America's minorities? Why, the very people who claim to speak for them on all matters. The same ones who created redistributive welfare policies that destroyed inner-city families.

The latest ploy that makes some citizens out to be imbeciles in need of a master is a legal attack on several election reform laws enacted in 2014.

In Ohio, leftist groups have filed a lawsuit demanding that state officials restore more than a full month of voting before Election Day, plus other measures intended to eliminate the slightest inconvenience at having to register or to vote.

They claim the new rules violate the First, 14th and 15th amendments and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, plus the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

"This is the Left's new legal strategy to go after election reforms aimed at discouraging vote fraud," said J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department Voting Section attorney and current policy board member of the American Civil Rights Union. Mr. Adams, who has successfully sued counties in Mississippi and Texas to clean up their voter rolls, added, "If they succeed in Ohio, they'll roll this out all over the country."

On May 8, the Ohio Organizing Collaborative filed in the U.S. District Court of the Southern District of Ohio, alleging that election reforms enacted in 2014 by the Republican-led legislature that reined in the state's lax requirements were intended to burden people who tend to vote Democrat, especially minorities and young voters.

Read more of ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight's Washington Times column.


ACRU Supreme Court Brief Reveals Non-Citizens Registering to Vote | 04/21/15

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 21, 2015) --- Non-citizens, even some admitting so on their application forms, are registering to vote under current federal law, as exposed in documents submitted today by the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) to the U.S. Supreme Court.

According to ACRU's brief in Kobach v. U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), of thirteen federal voter registration forms provided to the Court by the ACRU, "Four of the individuals actually checked 'no' on the citizenship question, six checked 'no' and 'yes', and the remaining three left the checkbox blank entirely." Nevertheless, they were all registered to vote.

"The left is registering non-citizens to vote every day of the week, using the federal form. Every ineligible vote cancels out the vote of an American citizen," said ACRU Chairman Susan A. Carleson. "Our election process is becoming a mockery. The states need to be allowed to require proof of citizenship to register to vote."

Read more.

Judge Rejects Dismissal, Grants ACRU Standing in Texas County Case | 03/31/15

A federal judge has ruled that the American Civil Rights Union has standing to sue Zavala County, Texas, over its inflated voter registrations. The ACRU filed the lawsuit in March 2014, citing the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (Motor Voter Law), which requires maintenance of accurate voter rolls.   

District Judge Alia Moses of the U.S. Western District of Texas, Del Rio Division, on Tuesday issued a court order denying dismissal of the case, which the defendant, Zavala County, had sought. At the same time, the judge granted ACRU organizational standing to pursue the case, in which ACRU alleges that Zavala County has more registered voters than age-eligible citizens.

Read the order.

Read March 2014 press release.

Supreme Court Deals a Blow to Racial Redistricting | 03/25/15

The Supreme Court has dealt a heavy blow to efforts -- often by the Republican Party -- to draw legislative districts that pack black voters into majority black legislative districts in order to elect black representatives.

In a case decided today arising out of Alabama state legislative plans, the Supreme Court held that the Voting Rights Act does not require the preservation and protection of legislative districts with percentages of black voters designed to produce black elected officials. Republicans and black politicians often argue that the Voting Rights Act requires line drawers to preserve proportional black representation by creating districts where black candidates are sure to win election. These plans help Republicans by bleaching out surrounding areas helping to elect Republicans.

Instead, the Court ruled that what must be preserved is the "ability to elect" minority preferred candidates of choice -- who need not necessarily be minority candidates themselves. This means legislatures can dip below numeric thresholds which create majority black districts, and not necessarily offend the Voting Rights Act.

Read more of J. Christian Adams' PJ Media article.

Supreme Court Rejects Challenge to Wisconsin Voter ID Law | 03/24/15

The U.S. Supreme Court rejected an appeal to overturn Wisconsin's voter identification law, upsetting civil rights and liberal groups that say the law discourages minorities from casting their ballot.

On Monday the justices said, without comment or explanation, that they would not hear an appeal aimed at overturning the voter ID law, which was signed into law in 2011 by Republican Gov. Scott Walker, a potential 2016 presidential contender.

The American Civil Liberties Union immediately filed a motion for a stay so as to not allow the law to go immediately into effect.

The ACLU challenged the law -- which requires voters to present photo identification before they cast their ballots -- saying it violates the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act against discrimination in voting.

In a statement Monday, Mr. Walker praised the justices' decision to let the law stand as "great news for Wisconsin voters" and "a common-sense reform that protects the integrity of our voting process, making it easy to vote and hard to cheat."

Read more.

ACRU Wins Consent Decree to Clean Up Texas County's Voter Rolls | 03/19/15

SANDERSON, TX (March 18, 2015) --- The United States District Court in Del Rio, Texas, has entered a consent decree requiring a Texas county to maintain clean voter rolls. Terrell County had more registered voters than age-eligible residents.

In the decree, signed by Judge Alia Moses, Terrell County officials agree to abide by federal law and clean the voter registration rolls of deceased persons, former residents and otherwise ineligible voters.

"We're very pleased," said ACRU Chairman and CEO Susan A. Carleson. "The Left's 'Battleground Texas' campaign is counting on vote fraud to 'turn Texas blue' and end national two-party competitiveness, but they will have a tough time if all Texas counties clean up their voter rolls."

Read more.

Supreme Court to Decide Whether to Hear Wisconsin Voter ID Case | 03/13/15

Legal challenges to Wisconsin's voter photo identification law have been underway for four years.

Next week, the U.S. Supreme Court might decide whether to rule on the law's constitutionality. Justices blocked the photo ID law last fall - just weeks before the November election.

Now, some organizers wonder if the justices could do an about-face, with only weeks left before next month's election.

Read more.

ACRU Asks Court to Take NC Voter Law Case | 02/09/15

WASHINGTON, D.C. --- The U.S. Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals erred when it overruled a District Court's opinion upholding a law reforming North Carolina's voting process just before the 2014 election, the American Civil Rights Union argues in a brief filed Feb. 4 urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the state's appeal.

In State of North Carolina, et al. v. League of Women Voters of North Carolina, et al., the ACRU's brief, written by General Counsel Peter Ferrara, notes that minority voting percentages in 2014 rose under the law instead of declining as the plaintiffs had projected.

Read more.

Wisconsin Is Ground Zero in Voter ID Fight | 01/19/15

Wisconsin is not only an electoral battleground state, it is ground zero in the fight to ensure honest elections.

Failing to recall Republican Gov. Scott Walker in 2012 or to defeat him in the 2014 election, union-backed legal groups are continuing their efforts to try to make voter fraud easier to commit.

Rebuffed by the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a petition at the U.S. Supreme Court asking the court to overturn Wisconsin's Voter ID law. On Thursday, Attorney General Brad Schimel's communications director Anne E. Schwartz responded to an email, saying only that, "We will continue to defend the Wisconsin Voter ID Law."

Enacted in 2011, Act 23 requires voters to show one of several forms of photo identification before voting.

Wisconsin is one of 17 states that have added a voter ID law following the Supreme Court's upholding of Indiana's photo ID law in 2008. A total of 34 states now require some form of ID to vote, according to the ACLU's petition.

Read more of ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight's column at the Daily Caller.

Grand Jury Recommends Charges Against Pa. Attorney General | 01/09/15

A grand jury has recommended criminal charges against Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane. The grand jury found that she leaked secret grand jury information to a newspaper in an effort to smear political enemies. PJ Media has been covering Kane's refusal to prosecute Pennsylvania Democrats who took bribes in order to oppose photo voter identification legislation in Pennsylvania.

Read more of J. Christian Adams' PJ Media article.

Pennsylvania Legislator Was Paid to Oppose Voter ID Law, Grand Jury Alleges | 12/17/14

PHILADELPHIA -- Pennsylvania State Rep. Ron Waters was charged Dec. 16 with allegedly accepting a $8,750 bribe to oppose a voter ID bill and take other official actions on behalf of an informant.

Waters, D-191, and state Rep. Vanessa Brown, D-190, both of Philadelphia, each were charged with criminal conspiracy, bribery in official and political matters, conflict of interest and for failing to make required disclosures on statements of financial interest.

Waters and Brown were among four state lawmakers caught in an undercover sting investigation that state Attorney General Kathleen Kane declined to prosecute, claiming the case was flawed. Williams later requested the case, which was submitted to an ongoing Philadelphia investigative grand jury.

Waters, who represents Darby Borough and parts of Yeadon, allegedly accepted nine payments totaling $8,750 from an informant between Oct. 22, 2010, and April 20, 2012, according to the findings of an investigative grand jury.

Read more.

Kentucky Mayor, Husband Sentenced for Vote Buying | 12/16/14

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WSAZ) -- The 69-year-old former mayor of Martin, Ky. was sentenced to 90 months in a federal prison.

Ruth Robinson was sentenced Monday afternoon in U.S District Court in Pikeville.

Earlier this year, Robinson was convicted on federal vote buying, civil rights violations, and social security charges in two separate cases.

Robinson's husband, James "Red" Robinson, 64, was also sentenced Monday for his conviction in the vote buying case. He was sentenced to 40 months in a federal prison.

Read more.

ACLU 'Thrilled' to Kill Voter ID in Arkansas | 10/21/14

Reacting to the Arkansas Supreme Court's ruling declaring the state's voter-identification law unconstitutional, ACLU of Arkansas Legal Director Holly Dickson said her group is "thrilled."

Well, why not. They've been at it all over the country, trying to take down voter ID laws and enrich the ground that can yield a bumper crop of vote fraud.

The unanimous decision on Oct. 15 upheld a lower court ruling and will affect early balloting, which began Monday, Oct. 20. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov 4.

The Republican-controlled state legislature enacted the fraud-prevention law in 2013 over a veto by Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe. The justices ruled that the law requiring all voters to present government-issued photo identification, "imposes a requirement that falls outside" four qualifications outlined in the state constitution: A voter must be a U.S. citizen, an Arkansas resident, 18 years old and registered to vote.

Providing proof that voters are, indeed, who they say they are, a requirement that the American Civil Rights Union and more than 70 percent of the public strongly supports, is too high a hurdle, according to the ACLU.

Ms. Dickson called the law "an unconstitutional barrier that has already stolen legitimate voting rights." When clerks ask to see an ID before selling beer, are they "stealing legitimate drinking rights?"

Read more of Robert Knight's American Thinker column.

Supreme Court Upholds Texas Voter ID Law | 10/21/14

The Supreme Court allowed Texas to enforce its strict voter identification laws in the upcoming midterms on Oct. 18. The decision, which came at 5 a.m., was unsigned and contained no reasoning.

The court rejected requests from the Obama administration and civil rights groups, refusing to re-impose an injunction against the law that was granted by a district court judge but lifted by the 5th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Oct. 14.

The law requires voters to present a photo ID at the polls before casting their ballot. Acceptable forms of ID include a Texas drivers license, a military ID, passport, or Texas gun license.

All three female Justices, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, publicly dissented from the decision.

Read more.


Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down Voter ID Law | 10/16/14

In a ruling that could affect a key U.S. Senate race, the Arkansas Supreme Court on Wednesday declared the state's voter-identification law unconstitutional.

The unanimous decision, which upheld a lower court, came just days before early balloting begins Monday for the Nov. 4 election.

The justices ruled that Act 595, which required voters to show government-issued photo identification, "imposes a requirement that falls outside" the four qualifications outlined in the state constitution: A voter must be a U.S. citizen, an Arkansas resident, 18 years old and registered to vote.

The constitutional qualifications "simply do not include any proof-of-identity requirement," the majority wrote in its 20-page opinion.

The law, which took effect Jan. 1, was approved in April 2013 after the Republican-dominated Legislature overrode the veto of Gov. Mike Beebee, a Democrat.

Read more.

Appeals Court Upholds Texas Voter ID Law | 10/15/14


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Tuesday afternoon gave the state of Texas permission to enforce its strict voter ID law, finding that a federal judge's ruling last week barring the use of that law "substantially disrupts the election process . . . just nine days before early voting begins...next Monday." 

The three-judge panel commented that the Supreme Court "has repeatedly instructed courts to carefully consider the importance of preserving the status quo on the eve of an election." That was a controlling reason, it said, for permitting the law to govern voting in the remaining days before the November 4 election.

Opponents on Tuesday immediately filed an application to the U.S. Supreme Court to block the law.

Read more at SCOTUS Blog.

Supreme Court Upholds North Carolina Voting Law | 10/10/14

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court on Wednesday upheld North Carolina's new voting law, which cuts back on early voting and eliminates same-day registration.

The ruling affects North Carolina, scene of a tight Senate race that could help decide which party wins control of that chamber for the final two years of President Obama's term.

The justices reversed a federal appeals court's decision that would have allowed same-day registration and counted votes cast mistakenly in the wrong precincts. Those were among several other procedures eliminated by the state Legislature last year.

Read more.

Courts Strike Down Wisconsin, Texas Voter ID Laws | 10/10/14

The U.S. Supreme Court late Thursday blocked Wisconsin from enforcing its strict voter identification law in November's election.

By a 6-3 vote, the justices granted an emergency appeal from civil rights lawyers, who argued it was too late to put the rule into effect this year.

Lawyers for the ACLU noted that the state had already sent out thousands of absentee ballots without mentioning the need for voters to return a copy of their photo identification.

At nearly the same time, a federal judge in Texas struck down that state's new voter ID law on the grounds that it violated the constitutional right to vote and discriminated against racial minorities.

Texas Atty. Gen. Gregg Abbott said the state would appeal.

The Wisconsin and Texas cases were the two most closely watched tests of new voter rules this year. In both states, Republican-led legislatures sought to tighten the rules for voting and to require all registered voters who did not have a driver's license to obtain a photo ID card at a state motor vehicles office.

Read more.

Appeals Court Upholds Wisconsin Voter ID Law | 10/07/14

MADISON, Wis. - A federal appeals court ruled Monday that Wisconsin's requirement that voters show photo identification at the polls is constitutional, a decision that is not surprising after the court last month allowed for the law to be implemented while it considered the case.

State elections officials are preparing for the photo ID law to be in effect for the Nov. 4 election, even as opponents continue their legal fight. The American Civil Liberties Union and the Advancement Project asked the U.S. Supreme Court last week to take emergency action and block the law.

Opponents argue that requiring voters to show photo ID, a requirement that had, until recently, been on hold since a low-turnout February 2012 primary, will create chaos and confusion at the polls. But supporters say most people already have a valid ID and, if they don't, there is time to get one before the election.

The opinion from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals comes a month before the election involving the closely watched race between Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who supports the law, and Democratic challenger Mary Burke.

A lower court judge, U.S. District Judge Lynn Adelman, struck the law down as unconstitutional in April, saying it unfairly burdens poor and minority voters who may lack such identification. Republican Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen asked the 7th Circuit to overturn that ruling.

Read more.

Court's Ohio Decision on Early Voting Could Affect Other States | 10/06/14

WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court delayed the start of early voting in Ohio on Sept. 27, a day before it was scheduled to begin, temporarily blocking a victory won by voting rights groups in lower courts.

The decision has potential implications for other states, including Wisconsin, North Carolina, Texas and Arkansas, where state efforts to tighten up voting procedures are opposed by civil rights groups who say they disproportionately affect minorities.

Ohio's was the first of those cases to reach the high court, and the conservative majority blocked lower court rulings that would have jump-started early voting Tuesday.

Their action, opposed by the court's four liberal justices, reversed a federal appeals court decision that had blocked the state from reducing early voting from 35 to 28 days. The lower court also had ordered the state to restore some evening and Sunday voting that the Legislature had eliminated.

Those reductions remain in place as a result of the high court's order. The justices invited the state to seek a full ruling on the merits of the case. If that request is denied or the state loses in court, the expanded voting hours would be restored -- albeit too late for this year's election.

Read more.

Federal Court Overturns Part of NC Voting Reforms | 10/01/14

A federal appeals court granted a temporary order on Wednesday that will allow same-day registration and provisional ballots in this fall's North Carolina elections, but refused to intervene on changes that shortened the early voting period.

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in Charlotte last Thursday in the case that came after the Republican-led N.C. General Assembly passed a series of changes in 2013. Supporters say the measures are intended to strengthen the integrity of elections. Those who sued to overturn the laws say the changes are unfair because they disproportionately hurt young voters and minorities.

Wednesday's ruling means voters can register and vote on the same day during the in-person early voting period, Oct. 23-Nov. 1. The temporary order also allows voters to cast ballots even if they show up at the wrong precinct.

Read more.

Court Lifts Stay on Wisconsin's Voter ID Law | 09/15/14

In a decision that has little substantive meaning, the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted an injunction against Wisconsin Voter ID that a lower court imposed. This was not a decision on the merits. It merely means that the 7th Circuit will allow voter ID to go into effect for the November elections absent the injunction being reimposed by the full 7th Circuit or United States Supreme Court.

The other significant part of the decision is that it is predictive. It gives an indication what the 7th Circuit will decide in the appeal of the lower court's injunction. The left has been hailing the lower court opinion as providing a new architecture for attacking voter ID under the Voting Rights Act. The Voting Rights Act does not provide an easy fit with voter ID laws, largely because of an absence of proof that they were enacted with a discriminatory intent.

Read more of J. Christian Adams' article at PJ Media.

Federal Judge Rejects Mississippi Lawsuit on Voter Information | 09/04/14

A federal judge has thrown out a lawsuit filed by Texas-based True the Vote and 22 Mississippians seeking birth dates of Mississippi voters.

"Plaintiffs are not entitled to any of the requested documents they seek in this case under the National Voter Registration Act," U.S. District Judge Nancy Atlas said in her opinion. "Neither poll books nor absentee ballot applications and envelopes fall within the NVRA Public Disclosure Provision. Mississippi's Voter Roll does fall within that provision, but Plaintiffs already have a copy of the Voter Roll and Defendant (Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert) Hosemann has conceded that it is disclosable under the NVRA."

Hosemann said all information contained on the poll books is and was available to this out-of-state corporation, any citizen or any candidate, after properly redacting the voter's birthdate.

True the Vote and the 22 Mississippians filed the lawsuit against Hosemann, the state Republican Party and election commissions in nine counties.

"This is not a case of voter fraud," Atlas said. "It's whether the National Voter Registration Act was complied with and whether it pre-empts state statute. This case is about transparency of the voter process with the counter-issue of voter privacy."

True the Vote claims it was denied access to voting records in Copiah, Hinds, Jefferson Davis, Lauderdale, Leake, Madison, Rankin, Simpson and Yazoo counties. The group also claims records have been destroyed or tampered with.

Most of the Mississippians who joined with True the Vote in the lawsuit were supporters of state Sen. Chris McDaniel in his challenge of U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran. McDaniel led the June 3 Republican primary but lost to Cochran in the June 24 runoff.

True the Vote president Catherine Engelbrecht testified that the organization wants only a fair election process.

Read more.

Trial Begins in Texas Voter ID Law Case | 09/03/14

(Reuters) - A U.S. court in Texas heard arguments on Tuesday in a case over a law requiring voters to present photo identification, a move the state's Republican leaders say will prevent fraud, and which plaintiffs claim is an attempt to suppress minority turnout.

The case is also part of a new strategy by the Obama administration to challenge voting laws it says discriminate by race in order to counter a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that freed states from strict federal oversight.

The trial that started on Tuesday at the U.S. District Court in Corpus Christi stems from a battle over stringent voter ID measures signed into law by Texas Governor Rick Perry, a Republican, in 2011. The law requires voters to present a photo ID such as a concealed handgun license or driver's license, but it excludes student IDs as invalid.

Read more.

Appeals Court Delays Wisconsin Voter ID Ruling | 08/25/14

MADISON (AP) - A federal appeals court put off a decision until next month on whether to put Wisconsin's voter ID law back in place.

Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen had asked the U.S. 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to reinstate the voter ID law while it considers a lower court ruling that found the requirement to present a photo ID at the polls violated the U.S. Constitution and Voting Rights Act.

Wisconsin's Republican-led Legislature passed the photo ID requirement and Gov. Scott Walker signed it in 2011.

Read more.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Upholds Voter ID Law | 07/31/14

The Wisconsin Supreme Court has upheld a 2011 law backed by Republicans requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls.

The rulings in two separate voter ID cases were released Thursday morning among several major decisions issued simultaneously.

The law already was ruled unconstitutional by a federal court judge in Milwaukee this spring, meaning that Thursday's rulings have no immediate effect. That federal court decision is under appeal.

For the law to take effect, both the state Supreme Court and the federal courts would have to find it to be constitutional.

In April, U.S. District Judge Lynn struck down the law, saying it violates the federal Voting Rights Act and the U.S. Constitution.

Gov. Scott Walker praised Thursday's rulings and said he was confident voter ID would ultimately be upheld in federal court.

"Voter ID is a common-sense reform that protects the integrity of our elections," Walker said. "People need to have confidence in our electoral process and to know their vote has been properly counted. We look forward to the same result from the federal court of appeals."

Read more.

Court to Hear Texas Voter ID Case | 07/16/14

In early September, a court in Corpus Christi begins a trial that should decide whether the current law requiring Texas voters to show government-issued photo identification before casting a ballot is constitutional.

As it has happened with cases over redistricting, the Texas voter ID fight is expected to get national attention because two years ago a three-judge federal court in Washington ruled the 2011 legislation unconstitutional.

Read more.

True the Vote Sues Mississippi Secretary of State, GOP over Alleged Vote Fraud | 07/02/14

Conservative election integrity organization True The Vote filed suit in federal court Tuesday against Mississippi's Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann and the Mississippi Republican Party, asking a judge for an immediate injunction against them so that the election material from the state's June 24 GOP primary runoff can be inspected.

The lawsuit comes as allegations that Sen. Thad Cochran's (R-MS) campaign and his allies engaged in voter fraud to win last Tuesday's runoff against conservative state Sen. Chris McDaniel. Cochran bested McDaniel by fewer than 7,000 votes but did so with an overwhelming turnout from liberal Democrats in the black community.

Read more.

DOJ Absent from Blatant Voting Bias Case | 05/30/14

Judge Ramona Manglona of the federal district court for the Northern Mariana Islands just threw out a blatantly unconstitutional provision of the territorial government that strictly limited registration and voting for a referendum to only those "persons of Northern Marianas descent."

The Constitution of the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands (CNMI) defines persons of Northern Marianas descent as those who are "at least one-quarter Northern Marianas Chamorro or Northern Marianas Carolinian blood or a combination thereof or an adopted child of a person of Northern Marianas descent if adopted while under the age of eighteen years." One is considered a "full-blooded" Chamorro or Carolinian if "born or domiciled" in the territory by 1950.

There is no question that CNMI's voting prohibitions are racially discriminatory. In fact, they are reminiscent of the odious "one-drop rule" of racial segregation codes or the First Regulation to the Reichs Citizenship Law of Nov. 14, 1935, which similarly defined Jews based on their ancestry.

Yet John Davis was forced to bring this suit at his own expense, with his own lawyer, because the Justice Department was nowhere to be found. It had no interest in filing a lawsuit under the Voting Rights Act against a blatantly discriminatory and repugnant law that prevented John Davis from voting because he doesn't have the right "blood" quantum.

Read more of Hans von Spakovsky's National Review column.

Judges and Voter ID | 05/21/14

On April 29, federal-district-court judge Lynn Adelman -- a Clinton appointee, former Democratic state senator, and former Legal Aid Society lawyer -- held that Wisconsin's voter-ID requirement violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, as well as the Fourteenth Amendment, because it places "an unjustified burden on the right to vote."

This decision has gotten a great deal of attention in the mainstream press (or the drive-by media, as Rush Limbaugh likes to calls them).What got almost no attention was a decision by another federal district court in Tennessee on February 20 over that state's voter-ID law. In that case, Judge Ronnie Greer upheld voter ID as constitutional.

Read Hans von Spakovsky's NationalReviewOnline.com column.

ACLU Sues over Pullback on Early Voting in Ohio | 05/12/14

COLUMBUS - The American Civil Liberties Union and other groups filed a federal lawsuit on May 8 against Ohio's elections chief over limits to when voters can cast an early ballot in the perennial battleground state.

Ohioans can cast an absentee ballot by mail or in person before Election Day without giving any reason. About 33 percent of those who voted in the 2012 presidential election cast an early ballot.

The lawsuit filed in Columbus federal court claims that recent cuts to early voting will make it difficult for tens of thousands of residents to vote and will unfairly affect black voters, who the groups say are more likely to use weekend and evening hours to vote early in elections.

Read more.

The ACLU's Vote Fraud Campaign | 05/01/14

The American Civil Liberties Union is at it again, throwing a log in front of the accelerating -- and widely supported -- campaign against vote fraud.

This time, the liberal group is asking for an injunction to block Arkansas from enforcing its new voter photo-ID law while the court considers the ACLU's lawsuit, which claims that the statute violates the Arkansas Constitution by suppressing minority voting.

As usual, the ACLU has managed to dig up several plaintiffs who claim harm for having to show a photo ID before voting. For the record, the ACLU has not filed lawsuits against airlines, banks, government agencies, beer and wine stores, and the U.S. Justice Department visitor's desk for requiring photo IDs, or against motorcycle cops who stop drivers and ask to see their licenses.

It's only when people are voting to choose who governs and taxes us that the ACLU generates nuisance lawsuits and false charges of racism.

Read more of Robert Knight's Washington Times column.

Big Win for Electoral Integrity in Arizona, Kansas | 04/05/14

In a big victory for election integrity, Arizona and Kansas -- led by their Secretaries of State, Ken Bennett and Kris Kobach -- have obtained an order from a federal judge allowing them to enforce their proof-of-citizenship requirement for voter registration.

In a decision issued on March 19, Judge Eric Melgren of the federal district court of Kansas found that the refusal of federal election authorities to add state-specific instructions to the federal voter-registration form notifying residents of Arizona and Kansas that they have to provide proof that they are U.S. citizens to complete their registration is "unlawful and in excess of its statutory authority."

Read more of Hans von Spakovsky's article.

ACRU Sues Second Texas County over Voter Rolls | 03/28/14

The American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) filed suit in U.S. District Court in Del Rio on Thursday against another Texas county for having more registered voters than age-eligible residents. The suit against Zavala County marks the second legal action following the ACRU's notifying 15 Texas counties last September that they are in violation of Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (Motor Voter Law).

On Jan. 27, the ACRU sued Terrell County, where more than 121 percent of citizens aged 18 and over were registered to vote in 2013.

In the Zavala complaint filed on March 27 in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Del Rio Division, the ACRU alleges that:

"Currently, 8,623 are registered to vote in Zavala County when only 8,205 age-eligible citizens live in Zavala County. This represents an implausible registration rate of 105 percent."

Read press release.

Judge Rules for Kansas, Arizona in Citizenship Voter ID Case | 03/21/14


A U.S. District Court judge ruled Wednesday that Arizona and Kansas can require anyone registering to vote to prove their citizenship and the federal Election Assistance Commission cannot block them.

The ruling is a boost for states' rights and marks a setback for President Obama and other liberals who fought stiffer voter ID checks with an argument that they reduce voter turnout.

Read more.

Wisconsin Supreme Court Hears Arguments in Voter ID Case | 02/26/14

MADISON - A Wisconsin law requiring voters to show identification at the polls went before the state's highest court Tuesday. The Wisconsin Supreme Court listened to arguments for more than three hours in front of a packed courtroom.

Attorneys on both sides of the law faced questions from the court's justices.

Justice Pat Roggensack told the state's attorney she's concerned some people have to pay $20 for a birth certificate, which they need to get an ID.

"Since the voter ID law was in place, or was going to be in place, there were some places in Wisconsin that offered free birth certificates," responded Clayton Kawski, an assistant Attorney General for Wisconsin.

The law was enacted in 2011. It was in effect for a primary election in February 2012, but it was blocked soon after by a court order. It hasn't been in place since.

Read more.

Federal Court Rejects Green Party Attack on Voter ID | 02/24/14

A federal court in Tennessee has dealt a serious setback to those attacking photo voter identification laws around the country - including Eric Holder's Justice Department in North Carolina.

United States District Court Judge Ronnie Greer has thrown out a lawsuit brought by the Green Party challenging the Volunteer State's photo voter ID law.

While the decision was bad for the Green Party in Tennessee, the opinion may be even worse for voter ID opponents nationwide such as the NAACP, the Mexican American Legal Defense Fund and Eric Holder.

Read PJ Media article by J. Christian Adams.

Judge Strikes Down Pennsylvania Photo ID Law | 01/18/14

A Pennsylvania judge on Jan. 17 struck down the state's voter ID law, which was signed in early 2012 and is one of the strictest in the nation, ruling that the statute "unreasonably burdens the right to vote."

"Voting laws are designed to assure a free and fair election; the Voter ID Law does not further this goal," Commonwealth Court Judge Bernard McGinley wrote. Pennsylvania's law requires all voters to bring to the polls identification issued by the state government or the U.S. government, or another valid credential such as a student ID with an expiration date, in order to cast their vote. If a would-be voter does not have an appropriate ID, that person can cast a provisional ballot and the vote will be counted if an adequate ID is brought to the local elections office within six days.

The state's Republican-led Legislature passed the law in spring 2012, saying it would help prevent voter fraud, and GOP Gov. Tom Corbett signed it shortly thereafter.

Read more.

Ohio Agrees to Clean Up Voter Rolls | 01/13/14

True the Vote and Judicial Watch have reached a "historic" settlement with Ohio to ensure clean voter rolls in that state. The settlement is historic because it marks the first case brought by a private party under Section 8 of Motor Voter against a state to require the clean up of corrupted state voter rolls. 

Last fall, the American Civil Rights Union was the first private organization to reach a settlement under Motor Voter, securing consent decrees in federal court with two Mississippi counties. 

Read more.

True the Vote Sues Two Colorado County Clerks | 12/18/13

A national conservative organization that aims to address voter fraud filed lawsuits on Dec. 16 against two Colorado county clerks for what it says is improper maintenance of voter rolls.

True the Vote alleges clerks from Gilpin and Mineral counties have voter registration rates -- according to the group's analysis -- of more than 100 percent, which it says signifies a problem.

As a result, the group says, the clerks haven't complied with the Voter Registration Act of 1993 by not making "a reasonable effort to conduct voter list maintenance programs in elections for federal office."

Read more.


Kansas, Arizona Seek to Have Feds Require Citizenship on Forms | 12/10/13

The Secretaries of State of Kansas and Arizona are trying to force the federal Election Assistance Commission (EAC) to change federal voter registration forms, which do not require documented proof of U.S. citizenship, to match their state forms, which do.

Their lawsuit (Kobach, Bennett v. EAC) against the EAC is scheduled to be heard next week in U.S. District Court in Wichita.

Read more at CNSNews.com.

West Virginia County's Vote Fraud, Political Corruption Yield Convictions | 12/05/13

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- U.S. Attorney Booth Goodwin said he believes the epidemic of political corruption in Mingo County has probably been stopped as a result of recent efforts by his office and others.

Goodwin was in a federal courtroom on Dec. 2 when former Mingo County Magistrate Dallas Toler pleaded guilty to federal vote fraud. Toler is the fourth former Mingo County elected official to plead guilty to various charges in recent months.

Read more.

Virginia County Registrar Threatened with Lawsuits over Refusal to Clean Up Voter Rolls | 11/21/13

CHESTERFIELD (WRIC) - Chesterfield County Registrar Larry Haake is in a legal battle after refusing to purge thousands of voter names. Before this year's election, he and other registrars were told to erase the names of people who weren't legally allowed to vote in Virginia.

The Chesterfield County Registrar refused until after the election, claiming the list was full of errors.

Two groups -- the American Civil Rights Union and True the Vote -- are now threatening legal action, and demanding that he clean up the rolls.

Read more.

Wisconsin Trial over Voter ID Law Underway | 11/11/13

A federal trial began on Nov. 4 over Wisconsin's voter ID law. The trial involves two cases and is expected to last two weeks. A Dane County judge in a different case has already blocked the law, but opponents of voter ID are pursuing the federal litigation in an attempt to ensure the requirement never goes back into effect.

Minorities and senior citizens testified about costly and time-consuming difficulties they said they faced in getting photo IDs. Assistant attorneys general defended the law in court, saying requiring IDs was a reasonable way to curb fraud and maintain public confidence in the way the state runs elections.

Read more.

Five More Plead Guilty in Kentucky Vote Fraud Case | 11/11/13

LEXINGTON -- Five former officials in Clay County have pleaded guilty to charges in a case that alleged widespread vote fraud, bringing the case to a close.

Three others charged in the case previously pleaded guilty. All eight were charged with being part of a racketeering conspiracy that used the county Board of Elections as a tool to buy or steal votes in 2002, 2004 and 2006.

Read more.

ACRU Warns Arizona County | 11/06/13

"Dirty voter rolls are Step One to vote fraud," said J. Christian Adams, American Civil Rights Union Policy board member.

WASHINGTON D.C. ---- The American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) sent a notice to Apache County, Arizona officials that they are violating Section 8 of the National Voter Registration ("Motor Voter") Act. The county has more registered voters in the state than voting age-eligible residents, according to official data from the U.S. Census and state voter registration office.

Read press release.

ACRU Warns Alabama Counties | 11/06/13

WASHINGTON D.C. ---- The American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) has sent notices to numerous Alabama counties that they are in violation of Section 8 of the National Voter Registration ("Motor Voter") Act. The counties have more registered voters than voting age-eligible residents, according to official data from the U.S. Census and state voter registration offices.

Read press release.

ACRU Warns Kentucky Counties | 11/06/13

WASHINGTON D.C. ---- The American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) has put numerous Kentucky counties on notice that they are violating Section 8 of the National Voter Registration ("Motor Voter") Act. The counties have more registered voters than voting age-eligible residents, according to official data from the U.S. Census and state voter registration.

See press release.

Florida Congressman's Aide Gets Jail Over Absentee Ballot Vote Fraud | 10/23/13

MIAMI -- Congressman Joe Garcia's former chief of staff will head to jail for orchestrating a fraudulent, online absentee-ballot request scheme during last year's elections.

Jeffrey Garcia (no relation), the Miami Democratic congressman's longtime political strategist, will spend 90 days in jail as part of a plea deal reached with the Miami-Dade state attorney's office, the Miami Herald has learned.

Prosecutors tied Jeffrey Garcia to hundreds of phony ballot requests submitted for last year's elections on behalf of unsuspecting voters without their permission.

Read more.


Second Mississippi County Agrees to Clean Voter Rolls | 10/22/13

JACKSON, Mississippi -- A second county in south Mississippi has agreed to clean up its inflated voter rolls after being sued by a conservative group (the ACRU) that said the county failed to purge the names of people who had died, moved away or been convicted of disenfranchising felonies.

In a consent decree filed this past Friday in federal court, Jefferson Davis County said that by Jan. 31, it will identify people on the rolls who are no longer eligible to vote.

Read more.

Iowa Man Guilty in Vote Fraud Case | 10/09/13

DES MOINES -- A Dallas County man, Tehvedin Murgic, pleaded guilty to interfering or attempting to interfere with a voter while the voter was marking a ballot during a general election.

A report last November by the Associated Press said Murgic was ineligible to vote because he was not a U.S. citizen, but registered and cast a ballot in the 2010 general election.

A Secretary of State's Office spokesman also said Murgic is a felon, another factor that could make him ineligible to vote.

Read more.

Holder Sues North Carolina over Voter ID Law | 10/01/13

The Justice Department filed suit on Monday to block North Carolina's new voter-ID law, with Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. accusing state Republicans of engaging in a deliberate effort to suppress black voter turnout.

"The Obama Justice Department's baseless claims about North Carolina's election reform law are nothing more than an obvious attempt to quash the will of the voters and hinder a hugely popular voter ID requirement," North Carolina State Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger and House Speaker Thom Tillis, both Republicans, said.

Read more.

Maryland Woman Pleads Guilty to Vote Fraud | 09/24/13

A Frederick County woman pleaded guilty to vote fraud after she was charged with signing her dead mother's name on an absentee ballot in the 2012 presidential election, the state prosecutor's office announced on Sept. 19.

Elsie Virginia Schildt, 46, was sentenced to probation before judgment and ordered to perform 40 hours of community service in the first 120 days of her probation.

Read more.

NAACP, Others Join Justice Dept. Suit Against Texas ID Law | 09/20/13

AUSTIN -- The Mexican American Legislative Caucus and the Texas NAACP filed a lawsuit on Sept. 17 to overturn the state's Voter ID law, joining the Justice Department in fighting the law.

The two groups filed their petition with a federal court in Corpus Christi, the same court where other civil rights groups and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder are fighting the requirement that voters must show a government-issued photo ID card to cast a ballot.

Read more.

The Latest Evidence of Voter Fraud — and Discrimination | 09/10/13

Obama-administration officials and their liberal camp-followers who routinely claim there is no reason to worry about election integrity because vote fraud is nonexistent suffered some embarrassing setbacks last week.

Federal law requires states to clean up their voter rolls. In 2009, the Obama Justice Department dismissed, with no explanation, a lawsuit filed by the Bush administration asking Missouri for such a clean-up. It has since taken no action against any other state or jurisdiction since it has an unofficial policy of not enforcing this requirement. But private parties are starting to force changes.

In Mississippi last Wednesday, the American Civil Rights Union won a significant victory for election integrity when a federal judge approved a consent decree in which Walthall County agreed to finally clean up its bloated voter-registration list. The county has more registered voters than the Census says it has eligible voters. The ACRU sued the county (which went for Romney in 2012) under Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), which requires election officials to maintain accurate voter rolls through a regular program that removes ineligible voters.

Read more.

ACRU Court Victory Means Dead People, Felons Will Finally be Taken Off Voter Rolls in Mississippi County | 09/10/13

The American Civil Rights Union landed a major victory this week when a U.S. District Judge in the Southern District of Mississippi signed a consent decree to clean up Walthall County's voter registration rolls. Census data for the county shows there are 9,536 people over the age of 18. The problem, however, is that there are 10,078 active voters listed on official records, which prompted ACRU to sue officials in the county earlier this year.

"This is historic and should have been done 20 years ago," ACRU Chairman Susan A. Carleson said in a statement. "It's the first time since Motor Voter [National Voter Registration Act] 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."

Read more.

Mississippi County Forced by Federal Court to Purge Bloated Voter Rolls | 09/10/13

A former U.S. Justice Department attorney is pleased that a federal court has ordered a Mississippi county to clean up its voter registration, which had more registered voters than voting age-eligible residents.

In April, the American Civil Rights Union sued Walthall County, Mississippi officials under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, commonly called Motor Voter.

Late last week, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi entered a final consent decree, requiring the defendants to clean up their voter rolls.

Read more.

Court Victory for Voter Integrity in Mississippi | 09/06/13

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.

Read more.

Walthall County Agrees to Clear Inflated Voter Roll | 09/05/13

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) -- South Mississippi's Walthall County has agreed to purge the names of ineligible voters from its voter registration roll, including those of any dead people and disenfranchised felons whose names appear.

The agreement was filed Wednesday in a consent order (PDF) in U.S. District Court in Hattiesburg. The American Civil Rights Union sued two south Mississippi counties, Walthall and Jefferson Davis, in April. The lawsuits said the counties both had more registered voters than residents who were at least 18, the minimum voting age.

Read more.

ACRU Wins Historic Consent Decree for Mississippi County to Clean Up Voter Rolls | 09/05/13

HATTIESBURG, MS ----  Officials in Walthall County, Mississippi, were sued in April by the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) under the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (commonly called "Motor Voter") for having more registered voters than voting-age-eligible residents.

On Wednesday, the parties settled the case. The United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi entered a final Walthall County Consent Decree requiring the defendants to clean up the county's voter rolls.

Read more.

ACLU of Iowa Asks Judge to Block Effort to Remove Ineligible Voters from Rolls | 09/04/13

The American Civil Liberties Union of Iowa has asked a Polk County judge to permanently block a state rule guiding the removal of ineligible voters from the rolls. The request for summary judgment in the lawsuit against Iowa Secretary of State Matt Schulz is the latest turn in a case that has gone on for nearly a year.

If granted, the rule that Schultz's office enacted earlier this year outlining a process for identifying and removing noncitizens from the state voter rolls would be invalidated.

Read more.

Two Somali Immigrants Charged with Double Voting in Minnesota | 08/28/13

About 50 men and women packed a Rice County courtroom on August 27 as two Somali women pleaded not guilty to charges of voter fraud stemming from the general election last November.

Farhiya Abdi Dool, 38, and Amina A Hassan, 31, each face one felony charge of unlawful voting for voting once by absentee ballot and once at a polling place during the 2012 general election. Each woman faces five years in prison and a $10,000 fine for the offense.

Read more.

Holder Tangles with Texas | 08/27/13

The Justice Department's case distorts the effect of Voter-ID laws and misinterprets the Voting Rights Act. Hans von Spakovsky explains.

Read more.

Kansas, Arizona Sue U.S. over Citizenship Issue | 08/27/13

Kansas and Arizona have sued the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, seeking a court order forcing it to amend voter registration forms for those states so that people signing up are required to prove they're citizens.

Read more.

Holder Sues Texas to Stop Voter ID | 08/26/13

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. sued Texas on Aug. 22, escalating the battle over voting rights and saying the Legislature was intentionally trying to discriminate against Hispanics when it redrew its congressional district maps and passed a voter-ID law.

Read more.

Ex-Judge, Five Others Out of Prison Awaiting Retrial on Vote-Buying Charges | 08/06/13

CLAY COUNTY, KY -- A former southeastern Kentucky judge and five others have been released from prison until they are retried in October on federal charges that they engineered a vote-buying scheme that stretched across three election cycles.


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J. Christian Adams Testifies on the Voting Rights Act | 07/26/13

On July 18, 2013, ACRU Policy Board member J. Christian Adams delivered the following testimony on the Voting Rights Act after the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County before the House Judiciary Committee's subcommittee on the Constitution and Civil Justice.

Read the testimony.

Ohio Woman Convicted of Vote Fraud Wanted to 'Test the System' | 07/17/13

Beavercreek resident Virginia McMillan, who was sentenced to 20 days in jail after being convicted in June of election falsification last November, told local officials her intent was to "test the system," according to court records obtained by Media Trackers.

Read more.

Ex-Arkansas Legislator Sentenced for Vote Fraud | 07/17/13

LITTLE ROCK - A judge has sentenced a former east Arkansas legislator convicted of election fraud to three years of probation, including nine months of home confinement.  Former Democratic Rep. Hudson Hallum pleaded guilty in September, along with his father and two campaign workers to charges of bribing voters and using absentee ballots to commit fraud in the 2011 election for his seat. He was sentenced on June 20.

Read more.

Expert Claims Voter ID Law Will Disenfranchise Half Million People | 07/16/13

Bernard Siskin, a statistical expert who has consulted for companies and government agencies, testified that about 511,000 registered voters in Pennsylvania lack the state-issued IDs required at the polls under the new law, which was passed last spring but has yet to be enforced. State officials say they have made free IDs easier to access. 

Read more.

Trial over Pennsylvania Photo ID Law Begins | 07/16/13

Opening arguments were held on Monday in Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court over the state's requirement that all voters in this key swing state provide photo I.D. when voting. The law has been in place for the last three elections but has not yet been enforced because of temporary injunctions.

Read more.

Alabama Photo ID Law to Take Effect | 07/02/13

MONTGOMERY -- Top Alabama officials say voters apparently will have to present photo identification at the polls in the next election. Gov. Robert Bentley, Secretary of State Beth Chapman and Attorney General Luther Strange said the Supreme Court's ruling on June 24 throwing out part of the federal Voting Rights Act means the state does not have to submit for preclearance a new law requiring voters to show photo identification.

Read more.  

North Carolina Voter ID Back on Track for Passage | 07/02/13

RALEIGH -- Voter identification legislation in North Carolina will pick up steam again now that the U.S. Supreme Court has struck down part of the Voting Rights Act, a key General Assembly leader said.

Read more.

Arizona Ruling Partly Blocks Georgia Voter ID Law | 07/02/13

Last week's U.S. Supreme Court ruling partly blocks Georgia from enforcing a law requiring would-be voters to prove U.S. citizenship, Secretary of State Brian Kemp said.

In a 7-2 decision on June 24, the court ruled a similar statute in Arizona is pre-empted by federal law. Passed in 2009, Georgia's law requires voter registration applicants to provide proof of U.S. citizenship, such as copies of passports or birth certificates.

Read more.

Ruling Clears Way for Vote Fraud Laws | 06/25/13

With the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Shelby County v. Holder, the way is cleared for more states to adopt laws requiring photo IDs and other measures that ensure election integrity, the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) said in a press release.

Read the release.

Supreme Court Buries Section 5 of Voting Rights Act | 06/25/13

The Supreme Court has decided Shelby v. Holder. It is one of the most important decisions in decades, writes J. Christian Adams.

Now, federal preclearance of state election procedures seems to be forever dead and buried. While some Congressional Republicans had vowed to enact new legislation to "fix" any coverage formula deemed unconstitutional, the Court opinion today offers almost no room to do so.

Read more.

Former Arkansas Legislator Sentenced in Vote Fraud Case | 06/24/13

LITTLE ROCK -- A former Arkansas lawmaker and his father were each sentenced June 20 to three years of probation, including nine months of home detention, and fined for conspiring to commit election fraud in a scheme that included destroying ballots and exchanging money and food for votes.

Read more.

Conservatives Plan for Battle after Court Strikes Down Arizona's Citizenship Law | 06/24/13

Conservatives are launching a multi-track strategy in the wake of the Supreme Court's striking down Arizona's proof of U.S. citizenship requirement for voting last week.

Read more.

Supreme Court Nears Ruling on Voter Rights Cases | 06/10/13

Rulings on two key voting rights cases could reshape how Americans nationwide cast ballots in federal elections. The more high-profile of the two pending rulings  involves an Alabama county that is pushing back against federal oversight of its election procedures.

Read more.

Appeals Court Upholds Wisconsin Voter ID Law | 06/04/13

MADISON -- A state appeals court on Thursday overturned a Dane County judge's decision that found Wisconsin's voter ID law violated the state constitution, but the ID requirement remains blocked because of a ruling in a separate case.

Read more.

California Tea Party Sues IRS | 05/21/13

The NorCal Tea Party Patriots filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Cincinnati, according to Reuters, arguing its constitutional rights were violated when the IRS targeted its application for nonprofit status. The lawsuit seeks class-action status, meaning it could become the major suit between conservative groups and the IRS.

Read more.

True the Vote Sues IRS | 05/21/13

A Houston-based nonprofit dedicated to fighting voter fraud, True the Vote has filed suit in federal court against the IRS, asking the court to grant its tax-exempt status (three years after applying) and seeking damages for unlawful actions taken by the IRS against the organization.

Read more.

Ridding the Voter Rolls of the Dead and Ineligible | 05/02/13

"The status quo is an embarrassment, it's lawless, it's criminal, it violates federal law, and the answer is to fix it," said J. Christian Adams in explaining why he and two other former Justice Department attorneys filed suits in two Mississippi counties over their voter rolls on behalf of the ACRU.

Read more.

Mississippi Cases Could Have Ripple Effect | 05/01/13

Two Mississippi counties are facing lawsuits filed by the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) that seek injunctions to compel election officials in Jefferson Davis and Walthall Counties to clean up their voter rolls. The two cases could have a nationwide ripple effect if the plaintiffs prevail.

Read more.

Spakovsky: ACRU's Mississippi Lawsuits Fill 'Breach' Left by Justice Department | 04/30/13

In an article for PJ Media, election expert Hans von Spakovsky reviews the American Civil Rights Union's lawsuits to clean up voter rolls in Mississippi:

"The ACRU is stepping into the breach left by the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Justice Department.Under Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez (now nominated to head the U.S. Department of Labor), the division has refused to enforce Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act, also known as the Motor Voter law. Section 8 requires states to remove ineligible voters from their registration lists."


Read more.

Indiana Jury Convicts Two of Vote Fraud in 2008 Presidential Ballot Petition Case | 04/29/13

A jury has convicted two former Indiana Democratic Party officials on multiple counts of election fraud stemming from false signatures on candidate petitions for Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in 2008.

Read more.

An Electoral Reform Tsunami | 04/29/13

Jefferson Davis County in southwest Mississippi has the distinction of being named after Confederate States of America President Jefferson Davis. That's good or bad, depending on whether you regard what occurred between 1861 and 1865 as the Civil War or as the War Between the States.

Jefferson Davis County may soon have another distinction as the place where a serious national legal effort to push back against vote fraud was launched.

On April 26, three former U.S. Justice Department attorneys filed lawsuits on behalf of the ACRU in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi seeking an order to compel election officials in Jefferson Davis County, as well as in nearby Walthall County, to clean up their voter rolls.

Read column.

ACRU Sues Two Mississippi Counties | 04/26/13

WASHINGTON D.C. (April 26, 2013) ---- On behalf of the American Civil Rights Union, three former U.S. Justice Department attorneys filed lawsuits today in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi seeking an injunction to compel election officials in Jefferson Davis County and Walthall County to clean up their voter rolls.

Like hundreds around the nation, these two counties have more active registered voters than there are voting age-eligible residents, according to data from the U.S. Census and state voter registration offices.

Read Press Release.

Vote Fraud Trial Underway in Indiana | 04/23/13

A former Democratic official and a Board of Elections worker are accused of being part of a plot that has raised questions over whether President Obama's campaign -- when he was a candidate in 2008 -- submitted enough legitimate signatures to have legally qualified for the presidential primary ballot.

The two face charges of orchestrating an illegal scheme to fake the petitions that enabled then-candidates Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton, to qualify for the race in Indiana.

Click here for full article.

Arizona Argues Its Case at Supreme Court | 03/19/13

Arizona Attorney General Thomas C. Horne told the Supreme Court on Monday that states carry the "burden" of determining voter eligibility and they can demand that residents prove their citizenship before registering to vote.

Conservative-leaning Justice Antonin Scalia seemed to agree with Arizona, saying a sworn oath of citizenship "is not proof at all."

Arizona and its supporters -- including other states with plans for similar laws -- say a signature isn't enough to combat voter fraud. And they argue the federal voting-rights law doesn't say that states can't impose additional citizenship requirements.

Click here for full article.

Supreme Court Hears Arizona Voter ID Case | 03/18/13

The Supreme Court on Monday, March 18, hears another case challenging the right of a state to put in place new voting requirements.

At stake in the case--Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc.-- is whether or not an Arizona law requiring Arizonans to show proof of citizenship at the voting booth will be upheld. The ACRU filed a friend of the court brief on behalf of Arizona. 

Click here for full article. 

Court Revisits Voting Rights Act; Liberals Flip Out | 03/04/13

Last Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments on a question not touched for nearly 50 years - namely, the question of whether parts of the landmark Voting Rights Act (VRA) of 1965 still stand the test of constitutionality, and specifically a section that has long plagued states' rights advocates.

Unfortunately for liberals, who view the VRA as one of their landmark legislative achievements, the answer to that question may well be "no," as many court analysts seem to have viewed the oral arguments in the case as either an unadulterated disaster for the government, or at least as a strong sign that a majority of the court is willing to consider striking down at least part of the act.

Click here for full article.

Tennessee Supreme Court Hears Voter ID Case | 02/07/13

Tennessee's Supreme Court was asked Wednesday to decide whether the state's voter ID law deprives people of the right to vote or if it's a necessary safeguard to prevent election fraud. And in a related issue, the court must determine whether a city-issued library card with a photo can be used as identification to vote.

Click here for full article.

Federal Suit Filed in Allen West's Election Defeat | 02/04/13

New ACRU Senior Fellow J. Christian Adams helped file a lawsuit today on behalf of TruetheVote challenging the conduct of election officials in the defeat of Rep. Allen West in the 18th Florida congressional district last November.

Click here for full article.  

Pennsylvania Court Blocks Voter ID Opponents from Getting Data on All Driver's Licenses | 01/21/13

Commonwealth Court has blocked a bid by a group that is challenging the state's Voter ID Law to get the driver's license information of every Pennsylvanian. The Washington, D.C.-based Advancement Project has no legal right to that data, which includes birth dates, addresses and Social Security numbers, the court ruled.


Click here for full article.

Court Upholds Tennessee Voter ID Law | 10/26/12

The Tennessee Court of Appeals upheld the state's new voter identification requirement, but it also agreed to let voters in Memphis use new library cards at the polls -- splitting the difference on the divisive issue less than two weeks before the Nov. 6 election.

Click here for full article.

Voter ID Opponents Ask Court to Overturn Tennessee Law | 10/19/12

Attorneys representing two Memphis residents whose votes were not counted in the August primary because they lacked a government-issued photo ID asked a three-judge Appeals Court panel on Thursday to throw out the state's voter ID law.

Click here for full article.

Judge Orders Removal of Citizenship Question from Michigan Ballot | 10/11/12

U.S. District Judge Paul D. Borman has ordered Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson to remove the recently included and highly contested citizenship question from the November ballots. This formal written order followed a preliminary injunction issued from the bench.

Click here for full article.

Court Upholds South Carolina Photo ID Law -- but Not for this Election | 10/10/12

WASHINGTON -- A panel of three federal judges upheld a South Carolina law requiring voters to show photo identification, but delayed enforcement until next year, in a decision announced Wednesday, less than a month before this year's presidential election.

Click here for full article.

Judge Blocks Pennsylvania Voter ID Law for 2012 Election | 10/03/12

A judge ruled Tuesday that a Pennsylvania law requiring voters in the swing state to produce photo identification at the polls cannot take effect for the November election.

Click here for full article.

10 North Dakota State Football Players Plead Guilty to Election Fraud | 10/02/12

FARGO, N.D. - Ten football players at North Dakota State pleaded guilty Tuesday to misdemeanor election fraud and were sentenced to community service for faking signatures on ballot measure petitions they were hired to collect.

Click here for full article.

ACLU Sues to Stop Citizenship Check Box on Michigan Ballots | 09/24/12

LANSING - The ACLU has filed a federal lawsuit Monday to stop Michigan Secretary of State Ruth Johnson from asking voters if they are U.S. citizens when they fill out ballot applications in the November election.

Click here for full article.

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Sends Voter ID Case Back to Lower Court | 09/19/12

In a 4-2 ruling issued on Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ordered Commonwealth Court Judge Robert E. Simpson Jr., who upheld the new voter ID law in August, to file a supplemental opinion proving that the new law won't disenfranchise some voters.

Click here for full article.

Federal Court Strikes Down Texas Photo ID Law | 08/31/12

WASHINGTON -- A three-judge federal panel on Thursday knocked down the Lone Star State's new photo voter ID law, which the court said illegally suppresses minority voters.

Click here for full article.

Federal Judge Rules in Favor of Obama on Early Voting in Ohio | 08/31/12

COLUMBUS -  A federal judge in Ohio granted a request from the Obama campaign to give all voters in the swing state the option of casting their ballot in person during the three days before Election Day.

Click here for full article.

Minnesotans Will Decide Voter ID in November | 08/28/12

The Minnesota Supreme Court decided Monday that a referendum approved by the state legislature to amend the state constitution to require voter ID will also be on the ballot in November. The League of Women Voters had tried to convince the court that the people of Minnesota should not be allowed to decide this issue.

Click here for full article.

Court Hears Defense of South Carolina's Photo ID Law | 08/27/12

Washington  -- South Carolina officials headed to federal court on Monday to defend a controversial new voter identification law, dismissing suggestions the requirement would deny tens of thousands of people, many of them minorities, access to the ballot.

Click here for full article.

Judge Upholds Pennsylvania Voter ID Law | 08/15/12

HARRISBURG - A Commonwealth Court judge denied a bid by civil rights groups to block the new voter identification law from taking effect, delivering a first-round victory to Gov. Corbett and legislative Republicans who pushed the measure through this spring saying it was needed to prevent voter fraud.

Click here for full article.

U.S. Court to Hear South Carolina's Appeal of Justice Department Shutdown of Photo ID Law | 08/07/12

South Carolina's voter ID law will go on trial before a panel of judges in a federal court in D.C. from Aug. 27 until Aug. 31, according to court documents filed on Aug. 7.

Click here for full article.

Critics Rally as Court Takes Up Pennsylvania Voter ID Law | 07/26/12

HARRISBURG -- Critics of the new voter ID requirement rallied in advance of opening arguments on Wednesday in a legal challenge, while the secretary of the commonwealth defended the law and said officials will comply with a separate federal review.

Click here for full article.

Opinion: Clueless in Minnesota and Michigan | 07/20/12

ACRU Senior Fellow Robert Knight relates in a Washington Times column how the ACLU is telling the Minnesota Supreme Court that Gopher State voters would not understand a voter ID ballot measure, and in Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder vetoed three bills tightening voter ID while signing several others.

Click here for full column.

Minnesota Supreme Court Hears Challenge to Ballot Measure | 07/18/12

St. Paul -- The battle over the language of the Voter ID amendment went in front of the Minnesota Supreme Court on July 17.

Click here for full article.

Wisconsin AG to Appeal Decision Blocking Voter ID Law | 07/18/12

MADISON, Wis. -- Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen says he will appeal a Madison judge's ruling blocking Wisconsin's new voter identification law.

Click here for full article.

Texas, Justice Department Square Off over Voter ID Law | 07/10/12

The state of Texas and the Justice Department gave opening statements Monday in a trial over Texas' new voter ID law, setting the stage for a legal battle over the federal Voting Rights Act.

Click here for full article.

Judge Allows Florida Voter Roll Purge to Continue | 06/27/12

TALLAHASSEE  - A federal judge has refused to stop Florida from removing potentially non-U.S. citizens from its voter rolls. The U.S. Department of Justice sued to halt the purge.

Click here for full article.

Minnesota SOS Refuses to Defend Proposed ID Amendment | 06/14/12

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie, a DFLer (Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party) who has campaigned against the photo ID requirement for voting passed by the Republican-controlled Legislature, said Thursday he will not defend the language of the proposed constitutional amendment in a court challenge that names him as the defendant.

Click here for full article.

Justice Department Sued over South Carolina Voting Records | 06/13/12

Judicial Watch  has sued the Department of Justice, saying it has not turned over public records related to its decision to block the state's photo ID law.

Click here for full article.

Florida Sues Homeland Security Over Voter Lists | 06/11/12

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) has sued the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to move forward with his plan to purge the voter rolls in his state of ineligible voters despite a Justice Department order to halt.

Click here for full article and video.

ACLU Petitions Court to Stop Vote on Minnesota Photo ID Amendment | 05/31/12

The American Civil Liberties Union wants the Minnesota Supreme Court to keep a proposed constitutional amendment requiring voters to present photo IDs off the November ballot.

Click here for full article.

Trial Date Set for Pennsylvania's Voter ID Law | 05/24/12

PHILADELPHIA - The ACLU announced  that its lawsuit over Pennsylvania's new Voter ID law has a trial date of July 25.

Click here for full article.

Missouri Photo ID Law Won't Be on November Ballot | 05/23/12

Jefferson City -- A state constitutional amendment that would clear the way for a photo identification requirement at Missouri polls will not appear on this year's ballot, the secretary of state's office said.

Click here for full article.

Delays May Doom Texas Voter ID Law for November | 05/08/12

Amid harsh words from Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's office and a panel of federal judges, the chances dimmed of implementing the new voter identification law in time for November's elections.

Click here for full article.


Voter ID Will Be Suspended for Wisconsin Recall Election | 04/26/12

Madison - A pair of appeals court rulings make clear the state's new voter ID law will remain suspended through the May and June recall elections.

Click here for full article.

Arizona Can Require ID at Polls, Court Rules | 04/17/12


A U.S. appeals court on Tuesday ruled that Arizona may require voters to show identification at the polls, a ruling likely to add fuel to the fiery debate about voting rights in a presidential election year.

Click here for full article.

Minnesota Common Cause, ACLU Vow to Stop Photo ID Amendment | 04/10/12

The Minnesota chapter of Common Cause and the American Civil Liberties Union are preparing a lawsuit against a constitutional amendment ballot measure that would establish a photo ID requirement for voting.

Click here for full article.

Missouri House Panel Rewords Ballot Measure | 04/09/12

Dealt a setback in court, a Missouri House committee acted quickly Tuesday to embrace new wording for a 2012 ballot measure that would allow a photo identification mandate to be imposed upon voters in future elections.

Click here for full article.

4 Indiana Dems Charged with Fraud in 2008 Election | 04/03/12

Prosecutors in South Bend, Ind., filed charges Monday against four St. Joseph County Democratic officials and deputies as part of a multiple-felony case involving the alleged forging of Democratic presidential primary petitions in the 2008 election, which put then-candidates Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton on the Indiana ballot.

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Texas Case Suggests Court May Overhaul Voting Rights | 01/09/12

This column by ACRU Senior Legal Analyst Ken Klukowski was published January 9, 2012 on The Washington Examiner website.

Former U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement told U.S. Supreme Court justices Monday that lower federal courts cannot redraw state-approved election district maps unless they can point to concrete "identifying specific statutory or constitutional violations."

Instead, Clement said during oral arguments on Perry v. Perez, two federal district judges have nullified the will of the people in Texas. The evident frustration of at least some of the Supreme Court justices suggests they agree with Gov. Rick Perry that state sovereignty must be restored.

Clement represented Perry and the state of Texas in an appeal of lower court decisions throwing out new congressional and state legislative election districts earlier this year.

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Indiana Voting Rights | 03/22/08

In 2005, the Indiana General Assembly passed legislation, signed by the Governor, to counter vote fraud by generally requiring those voting in person at the polls to identify themselves with a government issued photo ID, such as a driver's license or a passport. The Indiana state Democratic Party, the Marion County Democratic Party, two elected Democrat officials, and several political interest groups filed suit alleging that this Indiana Voter ID law is unconstitutional because requiring such an ID imposes a severe burden on the right to vote.

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