Legal group files suit against election officials over refusal to disclose ineligible voters on the rolls

by Jim Stinson | Updated 01 Nov 2016 at 7:41 PM

Two Virginia election officials are being sued in federal court over a refusal to disclose election records showing foreigners registered to vote in Virginia.

The Public Interest Legal Foundation, a conservative watchdog, filed suit against Larry Haake, the registrar in Chesterfield County, and Susan Reed, the registrar in the City of Manassas.

The foundation claims that in August 2016, it asked to publicly inspect and duplicate election records related to foreigners who registered to vote in Chesterfield County and Manassas. It is illegal for foreign subjects to register to vote in federal elections.

Other Virginia counties complied with similar requests and provided the records to the foundation. Among those counties that complied were Stafford, Prince William, Loudon, and the City of Falls Church, according to the foundation.

Chesterfield and Manassas refused to do so.

The foundation says under Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act (or Motor Voter), the public has the right to physically inspect election records related to maintaining accurate voter rolls. If election officials do not provide the requested inspection, they may be sued in federal court and may be liable to pay attorney's fees under the statute for failing to provide the records, according to the foundation.

The foundation made headlines earlier this year when it reported that 1,000 Virginia registrants were removed from voter rolls for citizenship problems in eight counties that complied with the foundation's request.

But the foundation is still not content with the filing compliance.

None of the non-citizens removed appear to have been referred to law enforcement ó even though it is a felony when a foreigner registers to vote in Virginia, the foundation claims.

"Transparency in the election process is essential," said J. Christian Adams, president and general counsel of the foundation. "Federal law requires election records to be available to the public. Concealing the extent of non-citizen voting registration harms the integrity of the election process."

The foundation says it exists to assist states and others to aid the cause of election integrity.