NORFOLK, Va. (CN) – Project Vote/Voting for America says Virginia may have denied black students at Norfolk State University their right to register to vote in the 2008 presidential general election, and the State Board of Elections refuses to let it examine voter registration records that could clear the state, or expose a systemic failure in its voter registration system.
The Louisiana-based nonprofit says Elisa Long, Norfolk’s General Registrar, rejected registration applications from several qualified students of the historically black school.
Now Project Vote says Long and the Commonwealth are invoking the National Voter Registration Act – the very law that it claims Virginia is violating by withholding the records.
Virginia claims to have its own rules, but Project Vote says they violate public disclosure rules: specifically, that the Commonwealth prohibits voter registration applications from being inspected by the public.
“When voter registration applications are rejected,” the group says, “the applications themselves, which are essential in determining whether the rejections were proper, are not available for public inspection under Virginia law.”
Project Vote say Long and Nancy Rodriguez of the State Board of Elections violated the National Voter Registration Act. It seeks an injunction allowing it to inspect and copy the requested records. It also wants attorney fees. It is represented by Ryan Malone with Ropes Gray of Washington, D.C.