WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Monday, Aug. 16, the U.S. District Court for the District of Colorado issued an order in Judicial Watch, Inc. v. Griswold dismissing claims against the state of Colorado. The case, brought by conservative group Judicial Watch and individual Colorado voters challenging the state’s alleged failure to purge voters from its rolls, will move forward with claims brought against Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold (D) in her official capacity.
Judicial Watch alleges that Colorado is in violation of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) because it has not completed routine voter roll maintenance, such as removing voters from its rolls who do not respond to a change of address notice and then fail to vote in two subsequent elections. The district court found that the state of Colorado was immune from the claims in the suit because the plaintiffs are “suing state officials rather than the state itself” and therefore the state is protected by the 11th Amendment. The court held that the plaintiffs had standing to bring their claims against the Colorado secretary of state and that they stated plausible claims that can be litigated in court. Since a court does not rule on the merits of factual allegations made during the motion to dismiss stage, there has been no determination if Colorado’s secretary of state is in violation of the NVRA for failing to conduct voter roll maintenance. Litigation will continue to address these claims.