Right-Wing Group Sues Illinois to Demand Removal of Allegedly Ineligible Voters

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The right-wing group Judicial Watch today filed a federal lawsuit alleging that Illinois election officials are failing to properly remove ineligible individuals from the state’s voter rolls. 

According to the lawsuit, 23 Illinois counties reported 980,089 total voter registrations as of November 2022, but removed a combined total of 100 voters over a two year period. In certain counties, the lawsuit asserts, zero voters were removed from the rolls between 2020 and 2022. “[T]hese are absurdly small numbers of removals,” the complaint reads. 

Under a federal law known as the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), states are required to cancel registrations of voters who have had a change in residence or have passed away. 

In its new legal action, Judicial Watch maintains that “[t]here is no possible way these counties can be conducting a general program that makes a reasonable effort to cancel the registrations of voters who have become ineligible because of a change of residence while removing so few registrations under” the NVRA. 

The right-wing group also claims that numerous Illinois counties failed to report data regarding removals and inactive voter registrations to the U.S. Election Assistance Commission — an independent, bipartisan commission that is obligated under the NVRA to report on state voter registration practices to Congress each odd-numbered year.  

In addition to asserting that “Illinois election officials are manifestly failing to remove ineligible residents from the voter rolls,” Judicial Watch argues that state election officials have failed to provide requested records and data pertaining to the state’s voter list maintenance practices. 

Aside from Judicial Watch — which has been involved in a series of other right-wing “election integrity” lawsuits — the complaint lists an individual voter and two other conservative nonprofit groups as plaintiffs. 

The complaint states that Judicial Watch and the other named plaintiffs are “concerned that failing to comply with the NVRA’s voter list maintenance obligations impairs the integrity of elections by increasing the opportunity for ineligible voters or voters intent on fraud to cast ballots.”

Despite numerous reports and court orders following the 2020 election refuting claims of alleged voter fraud, Judicial Watch’s President Tom Fitton said in a statement that “Illinois should take immediate steps to clean its rolls to both prevent fraud and increase voter confidence in the elections…Illinois’ voting rolls are a mess. Dirty voter rolls can mean dirty elections.”

Although the group contends that Illinois’ voter lists must be “cleaned up,” that process can be flawed, often resulting in lawful voters being improperly purged from voter lists. 

Just last week, a federal judge dismissed a right-wing lawsuit brought by the Public Interest Legal Foundation seeking to gain access to voter list maintenance records in Michigan for the purposes of purging allegedly ineligible voters from the rolls. 

Read the complaint.

Learn more about the case here.