The American Civil Rights Union landed a major victory this week when a U.S. District Judge in the Southern District of Mississippi signed a consent decree to clean up Walthall County’s voter registration rolls. Census data for the county shows there are 9,536 people over the age of 18. The problem, however, is that there are 10,078 active voters listed on official records, which prompted ACRU to sue officials in the county earlier this year.
"This is historic and should have been done 20 years ago," ACRU Chairman Susan A. Carleson said in a statement. "It's the first time since Motor Voter [National Voter Registration Act] was enacted in 1993 giving private parties the right to sue over voting irregularities that any private party has won a case to require clean voter rolls. With the Justice Department on the warpath against state election integrity laws, it couldn't come at a better time."
ACRU had to act because federal authorities have been delinquent, according to former DOJ attorneys J. Christian Adams, Christopher Coates and Henry Ross, who filed the lawsuit.
"This case should have been called United States v. Walthall County instead of ACRU v. Walthall County," Adams said in a statement. "We're doing the job that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. won't do. In fact, he's too busy suing Texas for its new photo ID law and abusing power in other ways to harass states that are trying to ensure election integrity."
And the demographics of this county are important to point out (via The Blaze):
Walthall County, Miss. is [a] red county in a red state, is majority white, and was carried [by] Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney in 2012, according to the Heritage Foundation. This could blunt the argument generally used by Democrats and the Holder Justice Department, that voter integrity measures harm minority voters and benefit Republican candidates.
The consent decree will force the county to clean up its voter rolls by removing dead voters, those who have moved out of the county, noncitizens, nonresidents, and convicted felons who are no longer eligible to vote.
"This is a huge victory for the American people," Carleson said. "Across the country, other counties have more registered voters than people alive. If they don't clean up their rolls, they risk litigation. Every time an illegal voter casts a ballot, it steals someone else's legal vote."
The ACRU also sued Jefferson Davis County on the same issue. A trial has been set for June 2014.