Private Right of Action: A Key to Fair Elections?

The arrest of an 81 year old woman in Bexar County, Texas provides a prime example of the need for more states to implement key provisions of the National Voter Registration Act and the Help America Vote Act (HAVA).

“Bexar County deputies Monday night arrested a woman accused of using her long-dead sister’s identity to vote twice in the 2008 general election.

Mary Ann Comparin, 81, was released from Bexar County Jail on Tuesday after posting $10,000 bail, officials said. She faces one count of illegal voting…

The Texas Department of Public Safety’s image verification system matched the photo on Comparin’s driver license to the one on the “Collins” license, according to the affidavit.

The system, about five years old, routinely scans 24 million images from licenses and identification cards, and compares them using an algorithm, DPS spokeswoman Tela Mange said.”

Cue the ACLU to enter stage left and sue the state for some violation resulting from the use of this new technology. Since the passage of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) many states have maintained a questionable history of compliance at best. When states do try to enforce the law, they are often stopped by lawsuits or accusations of racism. How many more cases of voter fraud would one find if all states utilized sophisticated technology to verify the identify of voter registration applicants?

DOJ Whistle-blower J. Christian Adams offers his take on the problem and a possible solution:

“Motor Voter struck an important balance — it sought to increase voter registration, as well as ensure voter integrity. Welfare offices and motor vehicle offices became voter registration centers. But the law also required states to conduct list maintenance to ensure ineligible names don’t pollute the voting rolls. Dead people, ineligible felons, and people who moved away must be removed from the rolls by state election officials….

The decision of the Holder DOJ to ignore the integrity provisions of Section 8 is deliberate and corrupt. In November 2009, political appointee Julie Fernandes told the entire assembled DOJ Voting Section that the Obama administration would not enforce the list maintenance provisions of Section 8. Section 8 ‘doesn’t have anything to do with increasing minority turnout,’ Fernandes said. ‘We don’t have any interest in enforcing that part of the law.’ End of story.

Adams points out an important provision of the NVRA that EVERY American should be aware of: private action.

“Now, Americans are left to clean up the voter rolls on their own. Thankfully, Motor Voter provides a private right of action that means private citizens can bring lawsuits against states and voter registrars who are allowing dead and ineligible voters to taint the voter rolls

Using this private right of action, I have given sixteen states the legal notice required to alert them that they have violated Section 8 of Motor Voter. I am working with private citizens across the nation to help ensure that the elections in November aren’t plagued by ineligible voters. If the states don’t fix the problem, private lawsuits may follow. The sixteen notice letters rely on publicly available data and describe problems in the voter rolls.

Every two years, states must report to the Election Assistance Commission (EAC) information about their voter rolls. The latest report is troubling. South Dakota, Texas, Mississippi, Kentucky and Indiana report in excess of a dozen counties with more registered voters than living people old enough to vote. Having more voters than living humans tells you something is wrong. In West Virginia, one county reported 113% of the voting age population was registered to vote. Baltimore, Maryland, reported 104% of voting age citizens on the rolls. Iowa and North Carolina also reported counties with more voters than living citizens of voting age.

All of these states received a notice letter.”

Over the past two decades groups like ACORN and Project Vote have used ligation to chip away at the integrity of our electoral system. States like Ohio, and Maryland have been sued in order to ensure minorities access to voter registered in welfare offices (not surprisingly, a majority of those receiving public assistance tend to vote Democrat and therefore there is a partisan slant to this selected enforcement).

A review of some of the cases brought before the states show this selective enforcement and the tendency of these leftist groups to disregard measure put into place to protect the entire voting process.

ACORN v. Levy (formerly ACORN v. Scott) is a lawsuit filed in Kansas City, Missouri charging Deborah Scott, director of the Missouri Department Social Services (DSS), and Janel Luck, director of Family Services, with failing to fulfill their obligations under Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) to implement voter registration programs in public assistance agencies.

Harkless et. al. v. Brunner et. al. The lawsuit filed in Ohio by ACORN, along with two individuals, charges Kenneth Blackwell, Secretary of State in Ohio and Barbara Riley, Director of the Department of Job and Family Services with failing to fulfill their obligations under Section 7 of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) to implement voter registration programs in public assistance agencies

ACORN vs. Cox – The lawsuit challenges a Georgia State Board of Election rule that states: No person may accept a completed registration application from an applicant unless such application has been sealed by the applicant. No copies of completed registration applications shall be made. The complaint claims the regulation violates the National Voter Rights Act and free speech and associational rights under the First Amendment by creating an undue burden on an organization’s right to assist applicants complete and submit voter applications to election officials.

Florida NAACP v. Browning – In 2007, Florida law stated that a voter application would be considered invalid unless the state performed a successful database match or otherwise verified the applicant’s identifying number, leaving it to the voter applicant to prove otherwise. This troubled voting rights groups, which filed suit that year. Plaintiffs argued that this law effectively transformed the government function of assigning each voter a unique identifying number into a barrier to registration and voting.

It seems like groups like Project Vote and ACORN care little about electoral integrity and have even pushed litigation that would make it easier for illegal immigrants to vote in Arizona.

Gonzales v. Arizona – In this case registered voters in Arizona and voters’ rights groups including Project Vote challenged Proposition 200, an Arizona law that imposed proof of citizenship and voter ID requirements, which Plaintiffs argued disparately impact Latinos. Plaintiffs sought a Preliminary Injunction preventing the enforcement of these voter identification requirements.

Fortunately for voters, the case was dismissed with prejudice.

One has to wonder why there are not more organizations out there that are willing to litigate to really protect our elections. Adams was right, Americans do need to take matters into our own hands and utilize the private action clause of the NVRA. Dozens of states are not in compliance and weak or complicit Secretaries of States have stood in the way of upholding the law. Where does your state stand?

Anita MonCrief, is the Editor-in-Chief of a new website, Emerging Corruption. Ms. MonCrief is a blogger and writer in the Washington, DC area. She is also known as the ACORN/Project Vote Whistleblower. She attended the University of Alabama where she majored in political science and history. She has worked with the American Bar Association’s Central European and Eurasian Law Initiative; (ABA CEELI), the International Crisis Group, the Grameen Foundation and American Rights at Work. She also partnered with the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe on their mission to Macedonia as an election observer.

In 2005, Anita joined the Strategic Writing and Research Department of ACORN Political Operations and its affiliate Project Vote. In 2008, Anita came forward, first as a confidential source of The New York Times and, after The New York Times backed away, publicly, to expose the damage that ACORN has done to the impoverished and marginalized communities, as well as its rampant voter fraud. She also began to blog and write about corruption within the ACORN/Project Vote network of corporations. In June 2009, Project Vote/ACORN filed a lawsuit against MonCrief in an attempt to silence her. MonCrief has appeared on numerous radio and television programs including, The Laura Ingraham Show, The O’Reilly Factor, and Fox News programs. In March 2010, the ACORN/Project Vote lawsuit was dismissed.


  1. It’s a wonder Republicans ever win given the never ending fraud perpetrated by democrats.

    Anita is a desirable woman. Seriously. Integrity turns me on.

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