State of Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania Voter Purge

Public Interest Legal Foundation v. Boockvar

Lawsuit filed by a conservative legal group, the Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), against Pennsylvania Secretary of the Commonwealth Kathy Boockvar (D) challenging Pennsylvania’s “failures to maintain…accurate and correct voter” rolls as required under federal and state law. Specifically, the plaintiff claims that Pennsylvania failed to properly remove over 20,000 deceased voters from its rolls in accordance with Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act and state law and argues that “violations of the NVRA have harmed…and frustrate the Foundation’s purpose of protecting the integrity of the electoral process and ensuring that accurate and current voter registration rolls are maintained.” The plaintiff asserts that deceased voters can be removed from voter rolls “at any time, without regard to election deadlines” and requests that the court order the defendant to remove confirmed deceased voters from the rolls ahead of the 2020 election. Additionally, the plaintiff asks the court to order the state to implement a new voter list maintenance program that complies with Section 8 of the NVRA. 

On March 1, 2021, the parties entered into a settlement agreement. The terms of the agreement state that death data received from ERIC (a national database of 33 states and Washington, D.C. used to maintain voter rolls) will be compared to the full voter registration database and the Department of State will cancel the registrations “of those registrants identified as deceased.” The stipulation notes that the information is confidential and “therefore PILF shall not be entitled to receive and shall not receive information received from ERIC, communications with the counties or any list or lists derived from the comparison referenced.” The Department of State will provide PILF with “copies of the full voter export at three-month intervals on three separate occasions—May 30, 2021, August 31, 2021 and November 30, 2021.” According to the Pennsylvania Department of State, the voter export includes “[an] export of all voters in the county and contains the following fields: voter ID number, name, sex, date of birth, date registered, status (i.e., active or inactive), date status last changed, party, residential address, mailing address, polling place, date last voted, all districts in which the voter votes (i.e., congressional, legislative, school district, etc.), voter history, and date the voter’s record was last changed.”

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