Thousands of dead people discovered on Detroit voter rolls. Now it’s a legal fight to take them off.

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DETROIT, MI- Perhaps we should stop using the line, “You can’t make this stuff up” because some are seeing that as a challenge.

Joe Schoffstall of the Washington Free Beacon reported that liberal groups and high-powered New York attorneys swooped into Detroit this week to help the city fight a lawsuit over its voter roll irregularities, which included thousands of deceased individuals appearing on the rolls.

The League of Women Voters of Michigan and its Detroit chapter filed a motion to intervene on behalf of Detroit city clerk Janice Winfrey and Director of Elections George Azzouz.

Winfrey and Azzouz were sued in December by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), an election integrity group. The officials had ignored PILF’s requests to inspect Detroit’s voter registrations after the group discovered thousands of ineligible voters on the city’s rolls.

The Brennan Center for Justice, a progressive policy institute at New York University School of Law, will help the League fight PILF’s lawsuit.

Myrna Pérez, the center’s director of voting rights and elections programs, and Eliza Sweren-Becker, counsel in the center’s Democracy Program, signed on to the motion. New York-based attorneys from the Paul Weiss law firm, where former Obama attorney general Loretta Lynch is a partner, also joined the motion.

The liberal groups and attorneys are converging on Detroit as part of a broader campaign against alleged efforts to “purge” individuals from voter rolls.

Democrats have built a massive network of nonprofit groups, funded by George Soros and other liberal donors, to oppose Republican-backed voting initiatives such as voter identification laws. Michigan is a significant target for such efforts given its “swing state” status; Trump won the state by just 10,000 votes in the 2016 election.

“The national 2020 elections will be held in less than nine months,” the League states in its motion. “If a resolution of this matter—whether by court order or through a negotiated settlement—results in an aggressive purge and a heightened standard for voter list maintenance beyond reasonableness, the League may not have significant time to remedy the issue.”

Logan Churchwell, communications director for PILF, said the groups still must convince the court they belong in the room.

“This is yet more evidence of the left’s deep investments to preserve faulty voter registration records and the questionable procedures at the root of the problem,” Churchwell said.

PILF filed suit after discovering 2,500 deceased individuals among the city’s rolls and 5,000 duplicate registrations. In a city where only 479,267 individuals are eligible to vote, PILF found 511,786 registered voters.

The League of Women Voters of Michigan did not respond to a request for comment. Robert Atkins, the top attorney from Paul Weiss listed on the motion, also did not respond.

Many of the attorneys working with the League have donated to Democratic presidential and Senate candidates this cycle. Atkins, co-chair of Paul Weiss’s litigation department, has provided contributions ranging from $250 to $3,000 to the presidential campaigns of Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, and Cory Booker.

Atkins also donated to the Senate campaigns of Cal Cunningham, running in North Carolina, and Theresa Greenfield, running in Iowa. The IA/NC Senate 2020 committee, a joint fundraising venture between Cunningham and Greenfield, is bankrolled by dozens of attorneys at the firm, including Atkins and Loretta Lynch.

The committee has so far pushed $100,000 to each of the candidates. On Dec. 16, it disbursed $1,100 to Paul Weiss for catering and room rental.

Another attorney listed on the League’s motion, William Michael, has also given thousands to Democratic presidential candidates including Biden and Amy Klobuchar.

Employees at Paul Weiss provided more than $1 million to Democrats and $180,000 to Republicans so far this cycle, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Democrats began their attempts to chip away at Republican voting initiatives prior to the 2016 election. After Trump’s victory, however, they mobilized to build a more robust infrastructure.

Marc Elias, a top Democratic lawyer at the Washington, D.C., office of the Perkins Coie law firm, led efforts to combat voter identification laws during the 2016 cycle.

Elias, who was Hillary Clinton’s top campaign lawyer at the time, brought lawsuits forward in several states, including Virginia, Ohio, Wisconsin, and North Carolina. The campaign was heavily funded by George Soros, who expressed a goal of expanding the electorate by 10 million voters.

Following the 2016 election, Elias joined the board of Priorities USA to lead its nonprofit arm’s efforts against state voting laws. Priorities USA additionally absorbed Every Citizen Counts, a nonprofit created by Clinton allies that focused on mobilizing Latino and African-American voters. The group began to zero in on voting issues.

Several organizations carrying the same mission sprang up around that time.

Let America Vote, a nonprofit established by former Democratic Missouri secretary of state Jason Kander, was one. It works with other liberal outfits and contains dozens of high-level operatives on its advisory board, including Elias, Stacey Abrams, and Guy Cecil, chairman of Priorities USA.

Last month out of Chicago, we reported about how alarms have been raised over the years about government officials trying to “dumb down” the voter registration process.

From using so-called “motor voter” initiatives where people could register when renewing their license and/or registration to automatic voter registration programs conducted at the same times, the system is rife for abuse.

In Illinois, it is being reported that a technical error has resulted in more than 500 non-U.S. citizens being registered to vote in the state, sparking criticism of the state’s automatic voter registration system.

State lawmakers and election authorities were understandably angry over the news, Republicans in particular.

Republican Representative Rodney Davis, along with other Republicans in the state legislature are working to address the “integrity of Illinois elections,” according to a tweet by the Illinois State House GOP.

Matt Dietrich of the Illinois State Board of Elections said:

“We view it as a significant problem.”

Thank you Captain Obvious.

 Dietrich said that individuals should not have been able to register as voters after they checked the “non-citizenship” box.

“The way that that’s supposed to work and the reason that box is there is that if someone checks that, they are instantly excluded from the automatic voter registration system.”

Apparently, not so much.

There has been a call among state lawmakers to have the auto-registration system suspended. They have further demanded a “zero tolerance policy” for voter fraud, as well as an investigation into the Secretary of State’s office.

In a letter, Secretary of State Jesse White’s office said that a “programming error” in a signature pad at driver services facilities let to hundreds of non-U.S. citizens accidentally being registered as voters.

According to the Secretary of State’s Office, the problem had been fixed last Tuesday, however lawmakers are only now raising questions about the incident.

The “Automatic Voter Registration” bill was signed by former governor Bruce Rauner in 2017. The law requires eligible Illinois citizens to be automatically registered to vote when they apply for or renew a driver’s license or ID, unless they opt out. Knowing Illinois, they are probably also automatically registered as Democrats.

“For whatever reason that technological programming error did not properly remove the individuals,” the letter said. “The individuals who are applying for driver’s licenses were inadvertently pooled into the automatic voter registration.”

You see, this is the problem with trying to idiot-proof things such as voter registrations.

While Democrats in Congress worry about voter fraud caused by invisible “Russian bots”, the real fraud is caused by programs such as automating registrations and electronic game playing with voting machines.

According to a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s Office, non-citizens who were registered to vote are here legally. They are not undocumented immigrants, and they did not lie on their forms; it was the state error that signed them up to vote.

I mean, that would “never” happen.

“We discovered an error, and we fixed it. And then we notified the State Board of Elections and the local election authorities and the individuals that were impacted,” they said in the statement.

While the scale of the problem is relatively small, it does highlight the possible glitches that can happen when you dumb down the process. It has been reported that of the 574 people who could have been registered, only 16 actually cast ballots.

The State Board of Elections said three of the non-citizen ballots were cast in Chicago. They are working with local election authorities to make sure anyone who was mistakenly registered is taken off the rolls.

“Even though, in the grand scheme of our election registration numbers and the voting numbers, the figures that we’re looking at are very small,” said Dietrich. “This issue is significant in terms of we want to make sure there is complete integrity with our automatic voter registration system.”

Republicans have long been concerned over potential voter fraud with the system and says that the error undermines the integrity of state elections.

“I don’t have a lot of confidence in the Secretary of State’s Office right now,” said Illinois State Representative Tim Butler (R-Springfield).

He is demanding a House investigation into the secretary of state’s office.

“He may or may not have known about this, I have no idea. But he needs to be held responsible for it; it’s his operation that allowed this to happen,” Butler said.

In a written statement, the state Republican chairman said that people needed to be held accountable:

“It simply is inexcusable that non-citizens voted in Illinois and potentially affected the outcome of elections across the state. Those in the Secretary of State’s Office who allowed this to happen should be terminated from their employment with the State.”

In response to the glitch, the Public Interest Legal Foundation, an election integrity firm, has requested records from the State Board of Elections. The group complains that Democratic politicians are pushing automatic voter registration at the expense of election integrity.

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Thousands of dead people discovered on Detroit voter rolls.  Now it's a legal fight to take them off.

 

The same type of program that was implemented in Illinois has also been implemented in 18 other states, plus the District of Columbia. The group feels that the issues highlighted in Illinois make it possible that non-citizens in other states are also making their way on to voter lists nationwide.

“States have no business experimenting with automatic voter registration until they can zero out the risk of ineligible noncitizens passing through traditional Motor Voter,” said Logan Churchwell.

He’s the communications director at PILF.

“This is not a new problem for Illinois. That state’s Motor Voter system made national news in 2017, well before policymakers foolishly installed automatic voter registration,” Churchwell said.

“States like Virginia, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Michigan, California, Georgia, Florida and more have demonstrated how foreign nationals can and do enter voter registries through the Motor Voter process, regardless of automation.”

“The Foundation fully expects there are mor eforeign nationals still registered to vote in Illinois—and some of them voted in 2018,” he said. “We just don’t know who they are yet since they haven’t felt the need to self-report—but their time will come.”

Perhaps Adam Schiff and the other headhunters in the Congress would be better served by looking for collusion and voter fraud where it really exists—in the Motor Voter programs nationwide.

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