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Just the Vote_NVRA

Just the Vote_NVRA

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Published by True The Vote
September 11, 2012 VIA FIRST CLASS MAIL and E-MAIL Paula Dozier White County Clerk 301 East Main, PO Box 339 Carmi, IL 62821 Dear Ms. Dozier, We are writing to you because we are aware that a letter from the organization True the Vote claims your County is in violation of the National Voter Registration Act (“NVRA”) and threatens legal action if certain steps are not taken in response. We represent a coalition of national and state based voting rights organizations, which collectively bring exte
September 11, 2012 VIA FIRST CLASS MAIL and E-MAIL Paula Dozier White County Clerk 301 East Main, PO Box 339 Carmi, IL 62821 Dear Ms. Dozier, We are writing to you because we are aware that a letter from the organization True the Vote claims your County is in violation of the National Voter Registration Act (“NVRA”) and threatens legal action if certain steps are not taken in response. We represent a coalition of national and state based voting rights organizations, which collectively bring exte

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Categories:Types, Letters
Published by: True The Vote on Oct 11, 2012
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 September 11, 2012VIA FIRST CLASS MAILand E-MAILPaula DozierWhite County Clerk 301 East Main, PO Box 339Carmi, IL 62821Dear Ms. Dozier,We are writing to you because we are aware that a letter from the organization True theVote claims your County is
in violation of the National Voter Registration Act (“NVRA”)
andthreatens legal action if certain steps are not taken in response. We represent a coalition of national and state based voting rights organizations, which collectively bring extensiveexperience supporting local and statewide election officials in the fair and legal administration of elections. We write to advise you of serious inaccuracies and omissions in
True the Vote’s
letterand to clarify that pursuant to the NVRA,
no
systematic voter removal program may beundertaken prior to November 6, including one triggered by a mass mailing.List maintenance programs that make reasonable efforts to remove the names of ineligible voters from the official list of voters help to maintain accurate and reliable voterregistration lists and are ordinarily a legitimate election administration activity. The NVRA
directs states to make “a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters” from official
voter lists. This includes regular ongoing list maintenance activities to remove the names of individual voters who have died or moved out of the jurisdiction. It also includes making listmaintenance records available to public inspection, with limited exceptions. However, contraryto the assertions of the True the Vote letter, the NVRA does
not 
require the number of registeredvoters in a County to be below a specific threshold; nor does the number of registered voters inyour County establish a violation of the NVRA.
 
Importantly, the NVRA expressly prohibits conducting systematic voter removalprograms within 90 days of a primary or general election for federal office. The NVRAexplicitly directs that
 
election officials
 
“shall complete, not later than 90 days prior to the date o
a primary or general election for Federal office, any program the purpose of which is to
systematically remove the names of ineligible voters from the official list of eligible voters.”
42U.S.C.A. § 1973gg-6(c)(2)(A). Specifically, as the United States Department of Justice states in
its NVRA guidance, “list maintenance verification activities such as general mailings and door todoor canvasses”
are among the programs that cannot occur within 90 days of a federal election.
21
 This 90 day
quiet period
helps ensure that eligible voters are not deterred from voting orerroneously removed from the rolls when there is insufficient time to undertake a carefulremoval of voters from the rolls and to correct errors before Election Day. The letter from Truethe Vote misleadingly fails to explain, or even acknowledge, this explicit NVRA restriction onthe timing of systematic voter removal programs.August 8
th
marked the 90
th
day before the upcoming November 6
th
general federalelection. Thus, at this time, it is not possible to conduct a systematic program intended toremove voters from your C
ounty’s rolls
without violating the NVRA. Accordingly, any suchprogram may not be conducted until after the November election. Thus, contrary to theimplications of the True the Vote letter, no mass mailing or other program to remove voters isrequired by the NVRA at this time
 – 
in fact, such a program would violate the NVRA.Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can provide any additional information orresources regarding appropriate list maintenance procedures pursuant to the NVRA. Specifically,we are available to answer any questions or concerns you might have about the allegations madein
True the Vote’s
letter or about the requirements of the NVRA. We would also be happy towork with you as your County evaluates any other election administration obligations under stateand federal law. Finally, we respectfully request that you confirm via email tomliebling@clccrul.org that White County will not initiate any systematic list maintenanceprograms between now and November 6.Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to hearing from you.Respectfully Submitted,Colleen K. Connell, Executive DirectorAmerican Civil Liberties Union of Illinois180 N. Michigan Ave., Suite 2300Chicago, IL 60601Diana Kasdan, CounselBrennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law161 Avenue of the AmericasNew York, NY 10013
21
 
See
 
The United States Department of Justice, The National Voter Registration Act of 1993,Questions and Answers,
available at 

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