The County of Los Angeles has begun the process of removing up to 1.5 million names from its voter rolls as a result of a lawsuit brought by the conservative group Judicial Watch.
“Federal law requires states to take reasonable steps to clean up the rolls, and Judicial Watch has been the forefront of becoming the first private entities ever to sue under this law, to enforce that law,” Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton said in an update video published Friday.
Fitton recounted that his watchdog group has successfully brought legal action in Ohio and Kentucky to enforce compliance with the National Voter Registration Act, so far.
“In California, we found there were many counties, like Los Angeles, that had more people on the rolls than living there and eligible to vote,” he said. “That’s a pretty good indication, they are not taking reasonable steps to clean up the rolls.”
He noted that L.A. County has more than 10 million residents, making it the most populous in the United States and larger than 40 of the 50 states.
Judicial Watch found that there were 20 percent more names on the voter rolls in the county than were eligible to vote.
Listen to Fitton’s remarks regarding the L.A. County voter rolls starting at 34:25.
He explained that county officials saw the writing on the wall, when the U.S. Supreme Court upheld last year the provisions of a settlement agreement Judicial Watch reached with Ohio, regarding removing “inactive voters” from the rolls.
According to Fitton, California had not enforced federal law in more than 20 years, but thanks to Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, all 58 counties in the state have been put on notice by Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office that they must comply with the law.
Judicial Watch stated in a news release last Wednesday it had been informed by L.A. County that officials had sent notices to 1.5 million inactive voters, informing them that they will be struck from voter registration rolls unless they take action.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement reached earlier this year, voters who do not respond to the notices and who fail to vote in the next two federal elections will have their voter registration terminated.
“This Judicial Watch settlement will result in the immediate and ongoing clean-up of voter rolls in California and L.A. County,” Fitton said.
“This victory for clean elections in California will set another national precedent for other states to take reasonable steps to ensure that dead and other ineligible voters are removed from the rolls.”
Fitton contended that keeping the voter rolls accurate is an important part of fighting against voter fraud, particularly given California’s weak voter identification laws. “Cleaning up the rolls is essential to good government and clean elections,” he said.
According to Fitton, there are 3.5 million names on various county rolls across the nation that are listed as “inactive” and therefore potentially eligible to be removed.
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