by Judicial Watch
(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that a federal court ruled its lawsuit can proceed against Colorado officials to force a cleanup of the state’s voter rolls.
Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit October
5, 2020, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado on
behalf of itself and three residents of Colorado against Jena Griswold,
Colorado Secretary of State, and the State of Colorado for failing to
clean the state’s voter rolls as required by the National Voter
Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA).
The court’s recent ruling to allow Judicial
Watch’s claims to proceed came after Colorado’s motion to dismiss the
case, which the court denied in all key respects.
The court ruled that the individual plaintiffs
have standing to sue based on the fact that “noncompliance with the NVRA
undermines the individual plaintiffs’ confidence in the integrity of
the electoral process and discourages their participation [in
In his ruling, Chief District Judge Philip A.
Brimmer also ruled that Judicial Watch’s allegations about Colorado’s
voting lists were enough to allow the lawsuit to proceed:
[Judicial Watch’s] claims that the Secretary is
not complying with the NVRA are based on public records and statistical
analysis. Plaintiffs insist that they have shown not only high
registration rates, which they claim courts have found indicative of an
NVRA violation, but also that the Secretary sends too few Confirmation
Notices, removes too few registrants, and has too high a number of
inactive voters on the rolls. . . . [T]he Court finds that plaintiffs
have met their burden and have plausibly alleged that Colorado’s list
maintenance program does not comply with the NVRA.
In its lawsuit against Colorado Judicial Watch argues:
- A 2019 study showed that 40 of Colorado’s 64
counties had voter registration rates exceeding 100% of the eligible
citizen voting-age population. The share of Colorado counties with
registration rates exceeding 100% was the highest in the nation.
- Data Colorado itself provided to the federal
Election Assistance Commission (EAC) showed that Colorado was lagging in
the processing and removal of certain classes of ineligible
registrations belonging to those who had moved out of state.
- In the last two years, 60 of Colorado’s 64 counties had a higher percentage of inactive registrations than the national median.
- In eight Colorado counties, more than one in six registrations belonged to an inactive voter.
Judicial Watch notes that registration rates over
100%, poor processing of out-of-date registrations, and high levels of
inactive registrations “indicate an ongoing, systemic problem with
Colorado’s voter list maintenance efforts.” Colorado’s “failure to
comply with their … voter list maintenance obligations” injures lawfully
registered voters by “undermining their confidence in the integrity of
the electoral process, discouraging their participation in the
democratic process, and instilling in them the fear that their
legitimate votes will be nullified or diluted.”
Judicial Watch has asked the court to declare
that Colorado and its Secretary of State are violating the NVRA and to
order them to “develop and implement a general program that makes a
reasonable effort to remove the registrations of ineligible registrants
from the voter rolls in Colorado …”
“Dirty voting rolls can mean dirty elections. And
this court victory highlights how Colorado citizens and voters have a
right to expect that the state’s voting rolls are reasonably kept up to
date, as federal law requires,” said Judicial Watch President Tom
Judicial Watch is a national leader for cleaner elections.
In 2020, Judicial Watch also sued North Carolina and Pennsylvania for failing to clean their voter rolls.
In 2018, the Supreme Court upheld a voter-roll
cleanup program that resulted from a Judicial Watch settlement of a
federal lawsuit with Ohio. California settled a
federal lawsuit with Judicial Watch and in 2019 began the process of
removing up to 1.6 million inactive names from Los Angeles County’s