ALEXANDRIA VA (April 5, 2016)—The American Civil Rights Union (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 yesterday 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.
“Something is wrong with the voter rolls in Philadelphia,” ACRU Chairman Susan A. Carleson said. “Federal law requires that election officials permit inspection of various data to determine if enough is being done to ensure clean voter rolls. Philadelphia entirely ignored our requests, so we are seeking an order from the federal court forcing transparency.”
The complaint against Philadelphia, which was filed on ACRU’s behalf by local Philadelphia counsel Linda A. Kerns, Esquire, is the first lawsuit the ACRU has brought in Pennsylvania under the NVRA.
Over the past two years, the ACRU has successfully sued four counties in Mississippi and two in Texas, with others pending, as part of its Election Integrity Defense Project (www.defendelectionintegrity.org).