The city of Alexandria, Va., is being sued in federal court for concealing election records after it was discovered more people are registered to vote in the city than are of voting age.
The Public Interest Legal Foundation, an Indiana-based election integrity group, brought the lawsuit forward on behalf of the Virginia Voters Alliance, Inc., a group dedicated to improving election laws, and David Norcross, a registered voter in Alexandria who is also a member of the Virginia group.
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Alexandria has for years maintained voter rolls that contain more registrants who can vote than the total number of citizens of voting age within the city, according to the group.
The Virginia voting group sought to inspect the city’s election records by invoking the National Voter Registration Act, which requires agencies to allow a physical inspection of election records relating to voter registration and list maintenance programs.
The group sent a statutory notice letter to Anna J. Leider, the general registrar of Alexandria, notifying her that the city was in violation of federal voter registration laws in January 2016.
"Your city is in apparent violation of Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act based on our research," the letter said. "Based on our comparison of publicly available information published by the U.S. Census Bureau and the federal Election Assistance Commission, your city is failing to comply with Section 8 of NVRA. In short, your city has more voters on the registration rolls than it has eligible living citizen voters."
The group contends that Leider made no effort to use data available to the city’s circuit court clerk to remove ineligible registrants from voting rolls. The data was obtained from jury excusal forms, which contains information on residents who self-identify as non-citizens or non-residents of the city of Alexandria. The data also identifies potentially-obsolete mailing addresses.
Unlike Alexandria, other counties in Virginia have utilized circuit court clerk data to perform list maintenance and remove ineligible registrants, the group said.
In addition, the Virginia group sought information including 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 convictions, and the most recent number of registered voters.
The letter requested Leider make available for public inspection all records concerning "the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency" of official lists of eligible voters.
Leider was warned of potential litigation against the city if she failed to comply with the requests. She did not provide the requested information and refused to meet with the group to talk about potential remedies to the situation, prompting the lawsuit.
The lawsuit against Alexandria is the second suit filed this month by the Public Interest Legal Foundation. The group filed suit against the city of Philadelphia, Penn. for its failure to comply with the National Voter Registration Act.
"When more are registered to vote than eligible citizens living in Alexandria, it is an invitation to voter fraud," said J. Christian Adams, President and General Counsel of the Public Interest Legal Foundation. "Corrupted rolls are an invitation to election corruption. Alexandria is not using all of the available tools to clean their voter rolls and prevent non-citizens from registering and voting. Concealing list maintenance records from the public isn’t good government, and it violates Federal election law."
"When it comes to elections, transparency is the best policy. It shouldn’t require a lawsuit to make that happen," Adams said. The lawsuit also asks the court to order a remedial list maintenance plan in Alexandria.
Leider did not return a request for comment on the lawsuit.