Fights over voting rights a prelude to November midterm election

February 13, 2018 | | Miami Herald |

But civil rights groups, including Brennan, Demos and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, sent these same counties a separate letter warning that PILF’s efforts were “inconsistent” with the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 and that their “claims of improper list maintenance are baseless, and its demands are not required by federal law.”

“We were very concerned that counties would begin taking actions (based on the PILF letters) that they shouldn’t take, are not obligated to take and that would harm legitimate voters on the rolls,” said Stuart Naifeh, senior counsel at Demos.

In their letter, the groups said voter rolls can be bloated because people thought to have moved can’t be taken off the rolls unless they confirm their relocation in writing or a waiting period has elapsed. And because large-scale purges can’t be conducted within 90 days of a federal election, many ineligible names can remain on the rolls as Election Day nears and rolls swell with even more new voters.

Naifeh said PILF began suing small counties in largely Hispanic areas of Texas, then predominantly black counties in Mississippi and have now moved on to heavily Democratic counties in key swing states, like Florida’s Broward County, North Carolina’s Wake County and the city of Alexandria in northern Virginia.