A legal watchdog group has filed a federal lawsuit against a county in North Carolina, claiming that it has more registered voters than living citizens.
The Public Interest Legal Foundation, an Indiana-based legal group that specializes in civil litigation, filed the complaint Tuesday in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. The group filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Voter Integrity Project of North Carolina, an election integrity watchdog group, against the Wake County Board of Elections for its failure to maintain the county’s voter rolls.
Wake County, which encompasses Raleigh, North Carolina, boasts a population of just over 1 million people, making it the most populous county in the state. The groups stated that publicly available data from the U.S. Census Bureau and data from the federal Election Assistance Commission show that the county’s voter rolls are larger than the number of citizens living in the county.
The voter integrity group sent statutory notice letters to the county on June 3, warning they were in potential violation of federal voter registration laws and asking to review election records. They did not receive a response from the county, prompting the lawsuit.
"Defendant has violated and continue[s] to violate Section 8 by failing to conduct reasonable voter list maintenance for elections for federal office and by failing to produce records and data related to those efforts, as required by Section 8," the lawsuit states. "Plaintiff seeks injunctive relief commanding Defendant to permit inspections of election records.
"Plaintiff also seeks a declaratory judgment and injunctive relief requiring Defendant to conduct and execute reasonable voter list maintenance programs in compliance with federal law to ensure that only eligible voters are registered to vote in Wake County."
J. Christian Adams, president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, said the county must do more to ensure integrity for the elections.
"If voter rolls contain more registrants than citizen alive, year after year, there is a problem," Adams said. "Wake County isn’t using all of the tools available to keep clean voter rolls. Wake County could do more to ensure election integrity this November."
Gary Sims from the Wake County Board of Elections told the Free Beacon that he compared current registration numbers in the county to census data from 2015, the most recent date for which figures are available. Sims claims his calculations showed 96,000 fewer people registered to vote than those living in the county.
The Public Interest Legal Foundation has been active in flagging suspicious voter rolls across the country, threatening lawsuits against more than 170 counties. It has filed complaints against two cities already.
Last year, the group filed a motion to assist the state of Virginia against a lawsuit brought by Marc Elias, Hillary Clinton’s top campaign lawyer. Elias was acting in his capacity as a partner at the D.C.-based law firm Perkins Coie on a project to challenge the state’s voter identification laws.
The Virginia lawsuit—along with similar challenges filed in Ohio and Wisconsin—was bankrolled by liberal billionaire George Soros to the tune of millions of dollars. It was ultimately dismissed by a federal court in May.
The Ohio Organizing Collaborative, one of the groups Elias represented in the multi-state legal effort, later found itself under investigation by state authorities for voter fraud. The Ohio Democratic Party replaced the Ohio Organizing Collaborative on the lawsuit, as a friend close to Elias told the Free Beacon he was no longer involved with the group.
A federal judge dismissed a portion of the Wisconsin lawsuit challenging the state’s voter ID laws in December 2015.