The nation’s leading law groups defending expanded voting rights Wednesday warned hundreds of election officials across the nation not to be intimidated by right-wing threats to more aggressively purge voter rolls, saying they would defend them in court if necessary.
“There’s no rhyme or reason to the 248 jurisdictions that have been identified” by the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), said Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law. “They include communities both large and small. They include communities with substantial numbers of African-American and Latino and other minority voters. But what we do observe is there has been a renewed focus on purge programs as a tool for suppressing the rights of voters.”
The Public Interest Legal Foundation is led by J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department Voting Section attorney who joined the DOJ in 2005 to help implement the Bush administration’s national crusade against so-called voter impersonation fraud—a thoroughly debunked partisan crusade to disenfranchise blue voters. The Trump campaign in 2016 and his administration have revived this discredited narrative as a ruse for red-run states to impose additional barriers to likely Democratic voters. That partisan playbook includes purging legally registered voters, especially those who tend to vote only in presidential years.