20-year lapse: California to remove 1.5 million inactive voters from rolls

CELEBRATING 20 YEARS OF EXCELLENCE: Countdown: Top stories of 2018

by WorldTribune Staff, January 4, 2019

The State of California and County of Los Angeles have agreed to begin the process of removing as many as 1.5 million inactive registered names from its voter rolls, a government watchdog group announced.

The state and county agreed to remove the potentially invalid voters as part of a settlement agreement reached with Judicial Watch, which filed a 2017 federal lawsuit to force the cleanup of voter rolls.

The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) requires the removal of inactive registrations from the voter rolls after two general federal elections (encompassing from 2 to 4 years). Inactive voter registrations belong, for the most part, to voters who have moved to another county or state or have passed away.

Judicial Watch said the lawsuit “uncovered that neither the State of California nor Los Angeles County had been removing inactive voters from the voter registration rolls for the past 20 years.”

The Supreme Court affirmed last year in that the NVRA “makes this removal mandatory.”

In its lawsuit, Judicial Watch alleged:

  • That Los Angeles County has more voter registrations on its voter rolls than it has citizens who are old enough to register.  Specifically, according to data provided to and published by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, Los Angeles County has a registration rate of 112 percent of its adult citizen population.
  • The entire State of California has a registration rate of about 101 percent of its age-eligible citizenry.
  • Eleven of California’s 58 counties have registration rates exceeding 100 percent of the age-eligible citizenry.

The lawsuit confirmed that, in Los Angeles County, more than one out of every five registrations likely belongs to a voter who has moved or is deceased. Judicial Watch notes that “Los Angeles County has the highest number of inactive registrations of any single county in the country.”

The new settlement agreement requires all of the 1.5 million potentially ineligible registrants to be notified and asked to respond. If there is no response, those names are to be removed as required by the NVRA.

“This settlement vindicates Judicial Watch’s groundbreaking lawsuits to clean up state voter rolls to help ensure cleaner elections,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “Judicial Watch and its clients are thrilled with this historic settlement that will clean up election rolls in Los Angeles County and California – and set a nationwide precedent to ensure that states take reasonable steps to ensure that dead and other ineligible voters are removed from the rolls.”


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