Complaint to Enforce National Voter Registration Act in Pennsylvania

Complaint to Enforce National Voter Registration Act in Pennsylvania

July 5, 2012
|

In this Complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Pennsylvania, plaintiffs point to what they say is clear evidence that the Secretary of the Commonwealth and the Pennsylvania Departments of Public Welfare and Health are not complying with federal law.  Plaintiffs, the Black Political Empowerment Project and ACTION United, allege that Pennsylvania is systematically failing to offer voter registration opportunities to low-income individuals at public assistance agencies in violation of the National Voter Registration Act.

According to the Complaint, The Commonwealth’s own statistics illustrate its failures.  Pennsylvania’s report to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (“EAC”) reveals that Pennsylvania public assistance offices received only 4,179 voter registration applications in 2009 and 2010. 

This represents a 93 percent decline since 1995-1996, when Pennsylvania reported 59,462 registrations from public assistance offices.  This decline is particularly significant given that the number of initial food stamp applications in Pennsylvania during the same time frame nearly doubled, from 1,015,968 in 1995-1996 to 1,814,000 in 2009-2010.