Voting Rights Advocates Prevail in Pennsylvania Voter Purge Lawsuit
- Dera Silvestre Ph: o: 401-391-2390 firstname.lastname@example.org
HARRISBURG, Pa. – Today voting rights advocates agreed to dismiss a lawsuit that pitted them against conservative activist group Judicial Watch in a lawsuit Judicial Watch originally filed to force three Pennsylvania counties to remove thousands of voters from the rolls ahead of the 2020 election.
The settlement agreed to by the parties simply requires the Department of State to separately publish online data it already collects and publishes under Pennsylvania law. Under the settlement, the Department will carve out the data for five county defendants and publish it separately. The lawsuit did not show any failure of the state of Pennsylvania to comply with either federal or state law governing voter roll list maintenance. Judicial Watch was unsuccessful in forcing any purges of the voter rolls.
“Today, we put Judicial Watch’s false claims about the security of our elections to rest. This settlement confirms what the vast majority of Pennsylvanians know: our elections are free and fair,” said Jill Greene, voting and elections manager at Common Cause of Pennsylvania. “We’ll continue to protect our neighbors from attempts by outside groups to rob them of their right to vote.”
“This is undeniably a victory for voters,” said Samantha Apgar, president of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania. “We are proud to have joined this case to prevent voters from being wrongfully purged from the voter rolls. The League will continue to fight for Pennsylvanians and prevent anti-voter groups like Judicial Watch from bullying states and counties into excessive purging and voter disenfranchisement.”
Judicial Watch, an organization known for disenfranchising voters, filed a lawsuit in 2020 against three Pennsylvania counties and then-Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar. It then amended the suit in 2021 to sue five other counties instead – Luzerne, Cumberland, Washington, Indiana, and Carbon Counties. The group sought to enforce a purported violation of the National Voter Registration Act based on unverified, self-generated data. The case followed similar lawsuits filed by other anti-democratic organizations in the lead up to the 2020 election seeking to purge voters in Allegheny County, as well as heavily-populated counties in Michigan and North Carolina.
In the years following Common Cause Pennsylvania’s intervention in this lawsuit, the group has continued its work to protect and expand access to the ballot box. More information on the group’s 2023 legislative priorities, which include improving Pennsylvania’s vote-by-mail system and modernizing the voter registration process, is available here.