Via Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton:
Judicial Watch achieved a significant legal victory last week – and it may lead to cleaner elections. On December 10, 2012, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, denied Indiana’s motion to dismiss our historic election integrity lawsuit (Judicial Watch, et al. v. King, et al. (No. 1:12-cv-00800)). We allege that the state of Indiana failed to maintain clean voter registration lists as required by the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), and now we will have our day in court. Make no mistake, this is a HUGE victory for election integrity. True the Vote, the grassroots clean elections watchdog, is both our client and co-plaintiff in this important lawsuit.
The State of Indiana had feebly offered the argument that Judicial Watch did not have standing to bring the lawsuit and, therefore, could not sue Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson and Indiana Election Division Directors J. Bradley Kind and Trent Deckard in their official capacity. But Judge Lawrence was having none of it, and ruled that the lawsuit can proceed in its entirety.
By way of review, this case began on February 6, 2012, when Judicial Watch notified Indiana election officials by letter that the state was in violation of the NVRA, having failed to clean its voter records to the extent that “the number of persons registered to vote exceeded the total voting population in twelve Indiana counties.”
The Judicial Watch letter also requested that the State of Indiana make available for public inspection all records concerning “the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency” of official lists of eligible voters, per Section 8 of the NVRA.
And what was the state’s reply? Indiana election officials summarily dismissed these concerns about the rolls and flatly refused to produce documents about this issue. And so, on June 11, 2012, Judicial Watch filed suit, leading to our recent court victory.
In its denial of the motion to dismiss, the District Court first ruled that the Judicial Watch and True the Vote had sufficiently fulfilled NVRA notification requirements, stating, “[T]he Court finds that the Letter satisfied the pre-suit notice requirement, inasmuch as the Letter, when read as a whole, makes it clear that Judicial Watch is asserting a violation of the NVRA and plans to initiate litigation if its concerns are not addressed in a timely fashion.”
In denying the defendants’ allegation that Judicial Watch and True the Vote did not have standing to sue, the court ruled that Judicial Watch “has satisfied this burden by alleging that its members who are registered to vote in Indiana are injured by Indiana’s failure to comply with the NVRA list maintenance requirements.” True the Vote, the court ruled, “has suffered injuries because of the Defendants alleged failure to comply with the NVRA and therefore has standing to bring its List Maintenance Claim.”
Needless to say, this is a major victory for the people of Indiana and everyone who values the integrity of the ballot box nationwide. Indiana’s election officials who shirked their responsibility to maintain clean voter registration lists have been put on notice that their lackadaisical attitude is no longer acceptable. This victory should put other states on notice that they need to take reasonable and responsible steps to remove dead and ineligible voters from the rolls. The Obama Justice Department has been AWOL on this issue so we will stand in the gap for election integrity. Actually, it’s worse than that. (The Department of Justice has, at times, behaved more like an enemy combatant against election integrity.)