Tea Party Group Challenges Voting Lists

     ALEXANDRIA, Va. (CN) – A city in northern Virginia has inaccurate voting lists, and refuses to allow inspection of election records, a Tea Party affiliated advocacy group claims in federal court.
     Voting lists for the city of Alexandria “have contained at various times over the past few election cycles, either more registrants than eligible voting-age citizens or an implausibly high number of registrants,” the nine-page complaint alleges.
     The Virginia Voter’s Alliance filed the April 7 complaint against Alexandria’s general registrar, Anna Leider, who maintains the city’s voting rolls.
     The Alliance, which says it promotes election integrity, claims the city does not have a general program to remove ineligible voters from its voter rolls, as federal law requires.
     The city makes “no effort whatsoever” to use available data, such as jury excusal forms to identify nonresidents, noncitizens and outdated voter mailing addresses, the complaint says.
     “By failing to implement a program which takes reasonable steps to cure these circumstances, Defendant has violated NVRA and other federal list maintenance statutes,” the complaint says, abbreviating the National Voter Registration Act.
     Pro-democracy group Bolder Advocacy has criticized groups like the Virginia Voter’s Alliance for mobilizing conservatives around what it says are baseless threats of voter fraud intended to purge voter rolls.
     While voter impersonation does happen, an August 2014 Washington Post investigation found only 31 cases of voter impersonation out of 1 billion votes cast between 2000 and 2014.
     Still, the problem with inaccurate voting lists is widespread, according to one of the plaintiffs’ attorneys, J. Christian Adams with the Public Interest Legal Foundation.
     “There are over 200 counties in the country that have more people registered to vote than people alive, eligible,” he said in an interview. “There are over four million ineligible voters on American voter rolls right now. Almost two million of them are dead. So counties are not doing enough to keep their voter rolls cleans.”
     Virginia voter and Voter’s Alliance member David Norcross joined with the group as a plaintiff.
     “The failure of the Defendant to comply with its obligations under federal voter registration laws has undermined the confidence of Virginia’s properly registered voters, including Plaintiff Norcross, in the integrity of the voter registration rolls,” the complaint says.
     “Defendant’s failure to undertake reasonable efforts to remove ineligible voters from the City of Alexandria’s voter rolls places Plaintiff Norcross at risk of dilution by the casting of a ballot by an ineligible registrant,” it continues.
     The Virginia Voter’s Alliance says it used data from the Election Assistance Commission and U.S. Census Bureau to determine that Alexandria has too many voters on its rolls.
     On January 25, the Virginia Voter’s Alliance requested “current registration data, the numbers of voters purged pursuant to maintenance obligations, the number of notices sent to inactive voters, the number of voters removed due to criminal conviction, and the most recent number of registered voters.”
     The group says it also requested records related to the city’s programs to ensure the accuracy of voter lists.
     According to the complaint, the City of Alexandria has yet to provide this information to the Alliance.
     Adams says there are similar lawsuits in Texas, Mississippi and Pennsylvania. Legal action on this issue is “the only way I know of” to get cities and counties to comply with the law, he said.
     “Places with long standing problems don’t ever seem to fix themselves,” he added.
     The City of Alexandria did not respond to an emailed request for comment.

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