SANDERSON, TX (January 20, 2016) — The United States District Court in Del Rio, Texas, has entered a settlement with the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU) requiring a cleanup of voter rolls in Zavala County, which has more people registered to vote than the age-eligible population of the county.
In the document, signed by Judge Joe Luna and filed on Monday, Zavala County officials agree to abide by federal law and clean the voter registration rolls of deceased persons, former residents and otherwise ineligible voters.
“This should send a message to other counties that have dirty voter rolls,” said ACRU President and CEO Susan A. Carleson. “If they want to avoid a lawsuit, they need to follow the law.”
Among other things, Zavala officials have agreed to match the National Change of Address Data Base against the county’s registration records and do inquiry mailings to some residents.
In the complaint filed on March 27, 2014, the ACRU alleged that Zavala County was in violation of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (Motor Voter Law), which requires up-to-date voter rolls. Zavala has “an implausible registration rate of 105 percent,” the complaint said.
In September, 2013, the ACRU sent letters to Zavala and 14 other Texas counties informing them of violations. On March 17, 2015, the ACRU entered a consent decree with Terrell County, which had more than 121 percent of age-eligible residents registered to vote.
Both lawsuits were filed by ACRU Policy Board member J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department (DOJ) attorney who is leading the ACRU’s litigation team, and by former DOJ Voting Section Chief Christopher Coates.
In 2013, the ACRU won historic victories in federal court regarding the same problem of badly kept voter rolls in two Mississippi counties — Walthall and Jefferson Davis. On Nov. 12, 2015, the ACRU sued Noxubee County, Mississippi, which has a long history of vote fraud and voter intimidation. The complaint notes that the county has 110 percent of its residents registered to vote.