New York Officials Failed to Remove Hundreds of Thousands of Potentially Ineligible Voters: Lawsuit

By Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber
Reporter
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.
July 8, 2022 Updated: July 8, 2022

New York authorities have failed to comply with federal requirements mandating jurisdictions regularly examine voter registrations and remove ineligible voters from voter rolls, according to a new lawsuit.

Just 22 names were removed between January 2016 and December 2021 in a city of over 5.5 million voters, including zero in Richmond County, according to data provided to the nonprofit Judicial Watch.

“These are ludicrously small numbers of removals given the sizable populations of these counties,” the nonprofit says in its 48-page suit, calling it “inconceivable” that authorities were complying with requirements from the National Voter Registration Act and not removing more names.

The law requires states to “conduct a general program that makes a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters from the official lists of eligible voters” due to deaths or a change in residence.

During the same period of time, Yates County, which has a total population of under 25,000 and just 14,500 voters, removed 1,251 names from its rolls.

Other counties in New York, on average, removed about 9.4 percent of the names on their rolls through the law, according to data Judicial Watch received.

Concerns About Diluted Votes

“The almost complete failure of Kings, Queens, New York, Bronx, and Richmond Counties, over a period of at least six years, to remove voters who have changed residence without notifying their local jurisdiction means that there are untold numbers of New York City registrations belonging to those who are ineligible to vote at their listed address because they have changed residence or are otherwise ineligible to vote,” Judicial Watch said.

“The existence of untold numbers of invalid registrations in Kings, Queens, New York, Bronx, and Richmond Counties belonging to registrants who have changed address or are otherwise ineligible to vote undermines the confidence of members of Judicial Watch who are lawfully registered voters in New York City in the integrity of the electoral process, instills in them the fear that their legitimate votes will be nullified or diluted by ineligible votes, and makes them less willing to participate in the democratic process by voting,” it added.

The suit, filed in federal court in the borough of Brooklyn, asks the court to declare defendants in violation of the voter registration law and to order them to develop and implement a program to remove ineligible voters from their rolls.

It also requests a declaration that defendants violated the law by refusing access to some records.

Defendants include the New York State and New York City Board of Elections, along with election commissioners in counties that are part of the city.

The state board declined to comment. The city board did not respond to a request for comment.

Zachary Stieber
Zachary Stieber covers U.S. and world news. He is based in Maryland.