Judicial Watch (JW), the DC-based citizens’ watchdog group, is the national leader in enforcing the National Voters Registration Act, which requires states and counties to take reasonable steps to clean their voting rolls by removing ineligible registrations (voters who had died or moved). Below are some examples of JW’s success:
- In 2018, the Supreme Court upheld a massive voter roll clean up that resulted from a Judicial Watch settlement of a federal lawsuit with Ohio.
- In 2019, California also settled a similar lawsuit with Judicial Watch, and began removing up to 1.5 million “inactive” names from Los Angeles County voting rolls.
- In 2019, Kentucky also began a cleanup of up to 250,00 names after it entered into a consent decree to end another Judicial Watch lawsuit.
According to Judicial Watch’s analysis of data released by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) this year:
- There are 378 counties nationwide with registration rates of more than 100%. Altogether, those counties have 2.5 million more voter registrations than citizens living there and old enough to vote.
- San Diego County has one of the highest registration rates in the U.S., with a registration rate of 117%, even after the county had removed 500,000 inactive names from voter rolls following Judicial Watch’s settlement with Los Angeles County.
- Judicial Watch found major voting list issues in California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Virginia, and Colorado.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton: “Dirty voting rolls can mean dirty elections and Judicial Watch will insist, in court if necessary, that states follow federal law to clean up their voting rolls. Previous Judicial Watch lawsuits have already led to major cleanups in California, Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio – but more needs to be done. It is common sense that voters who die or move away be removed from the voting rolls.”
On Jan. 2, 2020, JW sent notice-of-violation letters to 19 large counties in five states that it will sue unless the jurisdictions take steps to comply with the law and remove ineligible voter registrations within 90 days.
In the letters, Judicial Watch explains that implausibly high registration rates raise legal concerns:
An unusually high registration rate suggests that a jurisdiction is not removing voters who have died or who have moved elsewhere, as required by [federal law].
Judicial Watch also considers how many registrations were ultimately removed from the voter rolls because a registrant [had moved]. If few or no voters were removed…the jurisdiction is obviously failing to comply . . . States must report the number of such removals to the EAC.
The following are the 19 counties with excessive registration rates which Judicial Watch is threatening to sue. I found that in every county, except Chester County, PA, Democrats outnumber Republicans in registered voters. But Chester County voted Democrat in 2008 (for Obama by 9%) and in 2016 (for Hillary Clinton by 9.4%):
- Jefferson County: voted Dem in 2008, 2012 and 2016 elections)
- Imperial County: Previously strongly Republican, Imperial County is now a Democratic stronghold in presidential, congressional and local elections. The last Republican to win a majority in the county was George H. W. Bush in 1988. Democrat registered voters now outnumber Republicans 47.1% to 18.2%.
- Monterey County: Since 1992, the county has become a Democratic stronghold in Presidential and congressional elections, with George H.W. Bush in 1988 being the last Republican to win Monterey County. Democrat registered voters now outnumber Republicans 48.7% to 20.2%.
- Orange County: In 2016, Hillary Clinton became the first Democrat since 1936 to carry Orange County in a presidential election and in the 2018 midterm elections the Democratic Party gained control of every Congressional seat in the county. The number of registered Democrats surpassed the number of registered Republicans in the county in August 2019.
- Riverside County: Historically a Republican county in presidential and congressional elections, Riverside County voted for Bill Clinton in 1992; narrowly voted for Obama in 2008; then voted again by a plurality for Obama in 2012. Democrat registered voters now outnumber Republicans 36.8% to 32.1%.
- San Diego County: Historically a Republican stronghold, San Diego County began voting Democrats in presidential elections — for Bill Clinton, Barack Obama twice, and Hillary Clinton in 2016. Democrat registered voters now outnumber Republicans 35.7% to 27.3%.
- San Francisco County: Democrat registered voters overwhelmingly outnumber Republicans 56.8% to 6.4%.
- San Mateo County: Democrat registered voters far outnumber Republicans 50% to 14.3%.
- Santa Clara County: Democrat registered voters outnumber Republicans 45.2% to 16.9%.
- Solano County: Democrat registered voters outnumber Republicans 45.1% to 21.2%
- Stanislaus County: Democrat registered voters outnumber Republicans 36.8% to 34.3%.
- Yolo County: Democrat registered voters outnumber Republicans 47% to 19.3%.
- North Carolina:
- Fairfax County: has voted Democratic in every presidential election since 2004; in 2016, by a huge margin of 64.4% (for Hillary) to 28.6% (for Trump).
- Allegheny County: Democrat registered voters outnumber Republicans 58.17% to 28.02%.
- Bucks County: Democrat registered voters outnumber Republicans 44.49% to 41%.
- Chester County: As of 2016, Republican registered voters outnumber Democrats 43,87% to 38.64%. But Chester County voted for Obama in 2008 (by 9%) and for Hillary Clinton in 2016 (by 9.4%).
- Delaware County: Democrat registered voters outnumber Republicans 45.65% to 41.88%.