Voters must be protected from purges based on flawed data
PHILADELPHIA—Today, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania filed a motion to intervene in support of defendants in Judicial Watch v. Boockvar, et al., a case that seeks to forcibly purge tens of thousands of voters in the Philadelphia area. The proposed purge is based on unverified data that these voters are deceased.
“The data proposed by this challenge is unverified and deliberately targets senior voters and Black voters,” said Terrie Griffin, co-president of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania. “This is just another attempt by an outside group to parachute in to disenfranchise Pennsylvania voters. In a presidential election year, during a global pandemic, our election officials should be focused on securing and safely administering our elections. Instead, they are forced to deal with the distraction of an illegitimate voter roll challenge.”
The case is the second voter purge challenge brought by out-of-state organizations against Pennsylvania election officials. In early March, the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania and the League of Greater Pittsburgh also filed a motion to intervene in Public Interest Legal Foundation v. David Voye, et al. The case is still pending.
The League of Women Voters is joined by Common Cause Pennsylvania and is represented by American Civil Liberties Union, ACLU Pennsylvania, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP, and Lawyers’ Committee in this motion.
“Counties routinely clean up their voter registration lists of inactive voters and people who are deceased,” said Witold Walczak, legal director of the ACLU of Pennsylvania. “But when outside actors try to strong arm the counties into excessive purging, that can lead to the disenfranchisement of eligible voters. Our clients have every reason to defend the interests of voters, and we hope the court recognizes that.”
“Common Cause is dedicated to ensuring that every eligible voter can cast a ballot,” said Suzanne Almeida, Interim Executive Director for Common Cause Pennsylvania. “While reasonable list maintenance procedures are a necessary part of election administration, we staunchly oppose any effort that would result in the removal of eligible voters from the voting rolls.”
“The Constitutional right to vote is one of our most sacred rights as citizens and represents the most direct means by which most of us participate in our democratic institutions. Any attempt to unfairly disenfranchise eligible voters is an attack on these institutions and must be strongly resisted,” said William T. Russell, Jr., a partner at Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP.
“The Pennsylvania counties who have been sued in this case are already doing their part to clean their voter rolls,” said John Powers, Counsel with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “This lawsuit seeks to force these counties to engage in unwarranted and unnecessary purging in advance of the 2020 election. If this litigation succeeds, eligible Pennsylvania voters will be purged from the rolls and disenfranchised.”
“We have serious concerns that eligible voters in these three counties could be illegally purged from voter registration rolls, which is why we are stepping in,” said Adriel Cepeda Derieux, an attorney with the ACLU’s Voting Rights Project. “We want to ensure eligible voters and election integrity are protected."
Contact: Kayla Vix | 202-809-9668 | [email protected]