Six Florida counties warned by Judicial Watch over voter registration rolls

Six counties in Florida have been issued with notices of intent to sue over their voter registration rolls.

The move by Judicial Watch comes after an investigation by the Washington activist organization revealed there were more names on the registration lists than actual citizens of voting age in the six counties.

Under the 1993 National Voter Registration Act, the counties have 90 days to reply, on or before July 10, stating whether and how they are going to fix the issue, said Bob Popper, an attorney and director of Judicial Watch’s Election Integrity Project.

If they fail to do so, the organization is entitled to sue, Popper told Florida Business Daily. Florida is among 11 states targeted by the group, which identified counties in the country with the "worst" voter registration rolls, Popper said.

The Florida counties are Clay, Flagler, Okaloosa, Osceola, Santa Rosa and St. Johns, five of which voted Republican in the last presidential election.

"We did a study of the whole country and found 10 percent of the approximately 3000 had more registered than there were voting age citizens," Popper said. "We picked 11 of the worst, and larger counties, in a mix of states, Alabama, Kentucky, Tennessee, not drawing distinctions between Republican and Democrat."

He admitted neglect could be a large reason for the discrepancies, with counties failing to update rolls as people die or leave, but the potential for voter fraud - with people voting in two different places - cannot be ruled out.

"We just don't know," Popper, formerly deputy chief of the voting section of the Civil Rights division at the Department of Justice, said. 

He added that many states do not even record voter fraud, and in-person voter ID laws would not address voter registration issues. 

Section 8 of the NVRA requires states to make a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters from official lists due to “the death of the registrant” or “a change in the residence of the registrant” and requires states to ensure noncitizens are not registered to vote, Judicial Watch said.

Multiple studies have found no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Other reports suggest voter suppression – removal from rolls, voter ID laws, barring felons – is an issue.

President Donald Trump last week signed an executive order establishing a voter fraud commission. The commission will study "vulnerabilities in voting systems and practices used for Federal elections that could lead to improper voter registrations and improper voting, including fraudulent voter registrations and fraudulent voting," according to a report in Politico.

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