A public interest law firm has discovered thousands of noncitizens were quietly removed from Virginia voter rolls and that a number of the removed individuals had been voting since the 1980s.
The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), an Indiana-based group that litigates to protect election integrity, released a report detailing their findings on Virginia’s voter rolls. The group filed numerous lawsuits and submitted a number of record requests in order to gather the information after the state had initially stonewalled their efforts.
The extensive review of voter history files across Virginia’s 133 jurisdictions found that state election officials removed 5,556 noncitizen voters between 2011 and May 2017. Of the 5,556 noncitizens that were quietly removed from the rolls, 1,852 cast ballots.
PILF said that a total of 7,474 illegal ballots were cast by the noncitizens, with records of illegal voting dating as far back as the 1980s.
“Virginia’s voter registration system is so flawed, noncitizens have been found voting since the 1980s and weren’t caught until recently—by happenstance,” Logan Churchwell, PILF’s spokesman, told the media.
“It’s 2017—using the honor system to determine eligibility is only defended by those without a sense of outrage toward voter fraud.”
Last year, PILF released a similar report that found 1,000 noncitizens that were removed from the state’s voter rolls, 200 of whom had voted illegally. However, only eight Virginia locales originally complied with the group’s records requests at the time.
Some officials told PILF that political appointees close to Democratic Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe had given guidance that prohibited the disclosure of illegal voters to the group, citing the federal Driver’s Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) as reason why they could not turn the information over, PILF said.
“At the instruction of Governor McAuliffe’s political appointees, local election officials spent countless resources to prevent this information from spilling into the open,” J. Christian Adams, president and general counsel of PILF, said of state’s response to the records requests.
PILF sued Chesterfield County and the City of Manassas for voter information. A judge later ruled that DPPA was not justification for election records to be concealed. At this point, jurisdictions began turning documents over to PILF, who had partnered with the Virginia Voters Alliance on the study.
“Virginia hid critical information that would have improved election integrity while a political operative-turned-governor vetoed numerous proposals that would’ve prevented alien registration and voting,” Adams said.
“From NoVa to Norfolk and all urban and rural points in between, alien voters are casting ballots with practically no legal consequences in response.”
The Virginia Department of Elections did not return a request for comment while Commissioner Cortes issued the following statement:
The Department of Elections (ELECT) has one of the premier list maintenance programs in the country, including routine removal of deceased individuals, people with felony convictions, and individuals who self-identify as non-citizens.
As the PILF report shows, Virginia election officials have been and are continuing to promptly remove individuals who self-identify as non-citizens from the statewide voter registration list in accordance with federal and state law.