New Jersey Sued for Illegally Concealing Election Records Policy

New Jersey Sued for Illegally Concealing Election Records Policy
Voters use an optional paper ballot voting booth as they cast their ballots early for the May 3 Primary Election at the Franklin County Board of Elections polling location on April 26, 2022, in Columbus, Ohio. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
Matthew Vadum

An election integrity group is suing New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way for allegedly violating the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) by refusing to disclose documentation explaining how election officials resolve duplicate voter registrations.

The Indianapolis-based Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) says it needs to view the documents because recent studies show thousands of New Jersey residents possess duplicate, triplicate, or quadruplicate voter registrations.

“Americans have a fundamental right under federal law to see precisely how their voter rolls are maintained,” stated PILF President J. Christian Adams, a former civil rights attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice.

“We can’t let New Jersey set a trend for concealing standard operating procedures for data entry and hygiene as if they were state secrets—especially when we are seeing persons registered three, four, five, and even six times.”

PILF, a nonprofit, describes itself as “the nation’s only public interest law firm dedicated wholly to election integrity.” It “exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity and fight against lawlessness in American elections.” The group states that it has brought lawsuits and won victories in Texas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

PILF isn’t the first to complain to Way about the state’s lack of transparency on voter registrations.

State Sen. Kristin Corrado, a Republican, has expressed her concerns in a series of letters to Way.

“Since September 2020, I have written several letters to New Jersey Secretary of State Tahesha Way to request that the election process be made fully transparent while ensuring both County Clerks and the Board of Elections can deliver fair and accurate election results,” Corrado wrote in an October 2021 statement.

“I have heard from many constituents who are justifiably concerned about the numerous cases of voter fraud, ballot tampering, incorrect counting, and postal issues over the past year. We need to ensure the accuracy and fairness of the many crucial local, county, state, and federal elections so the rightful winners may represent the people of New Jersey.”

The case, PILF v. Way, court file 3:22-cv-2865, was filed on May 17 in U.S. District Court in New Jersey. Way, a Democrat, is the state’s chief election official.

Before filing suit, PILF told Way’s office that there were widespread errors in the voter roll. There were thousands of examples of registrations stored in duplicate. Tens of thousands of other voter records were missing or contained false biographical information such as dates of birth. Way’s office stonewalled, according to PILF.

The lawsuit recites federal law, stating: “Each State shall maintain for at least two years and shall make available for public inspection and, where available, photocopying at a reasonable cost, all records concerning the implementation of programs and activities conducted for the purpose of ensuring the accuracy and currency of official lists of eligible voters ... [The NVRA] contemplates an indefinite number of programs and activities.”

By withholding the requested documents, Way is inflicting a “concrete informational injury” on PILF, which “does not have records and information to which it is entitled under federal law.” Way also is “impairing the Foundation’s ability to ... assess compliance by New Jersey with state and federal voter list maintenance programs and activities.”

Way's office didn't respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.