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Lawsuit Forces Pennsylvania To Ensure It Takes Dead Voters Off Its Voter Rolls

The Pennsylvania Department of State settled with the Public Interest Legal Foundation over a lawsuit alledging more than 21,000 dead voters were on rolls.


The state of Pennsylvania has agreed to take steps to remove deceased voters from being able to vote following a settled lawsuit filed by The Public Interest Legal Foundation.

The suit, filed in November, alleged that at least 21,000 deceased individuals were still on voter rolls during the 2020 presidential election. Data compiled by the Watchdog group alleged that more than 9,200 of the people registered had been dead for at least five years, in addition to nearly 1,990 that had been dead for 10 years. An estimated 197 voters were dead for at least twenty years. The Pennsylvania Department of State did not agree in the settlement with the number of dead voters.

“This marks an important victory for the integrity of elections in Pennsylvania,” PILF President and General Counsel J. Christian Adams said. “The Commonwealth’s failure to remove deceased registrants created a vast opportunity for voter fraud and abuse. It is important to not have dead voters active on the rolls for 5, 10, or even 20 years. This settlement fixes that.”

PILF’s suit against the Department of State was filed a day prior to then-candidate Joe Biden taking the lead in the commonwealth. The settlement terms will force the state to cross-check the full-voter registration database with data sets received from the Electronic Registration Information Center.

Election officials in Pittsburgh admitted that duplicate ballots were mailed out to voters in May. Pittsburgh election official, Dave Voye, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that Allegheny county officials miscalculated the proper number. Judicial Watch notably sued Pennsylvania for maintaining more than 800,000 inactive voter registrations — with the concentration in nearby Philadelphia counties Bucks, Chester, and Delaware.

“The idea that it took any time at all to settle this issue is a horrible commentary on the state election authorities involved,” David Schoen, one of the attorneys who represented former President Donald Trump in his second impeachment trial told The Federalist. “We should not have to depend on public interest organizations to spend their time and resources litigating this kind of issue; but it is fortunate that we have them to do it.  A victory for election integrity is a victory for every voter and every candidate and for our Democracy.”

In addition, the Department of State is required to provide deceased names to every county commissioner, in order for officials to effectively cancel registrations. In three-month intervals, the Watchdog group is mandated to be given voter export data. The data will be provided to PILF by the Department of State on May 30, 2021, August 31, 2021, and November 30, 2021.

The Department of State said in a statement to The Federalist that it “is pleased that this agreement will offer Pennsylvania’s county boards of election another valuable tool to maintain the most accurate and up-to-date voter rolls possible.”

This article has been updated since publication to clarify that the state did not agree in the settlement with the number of dead voters alleged. The updated story also clarifies that Dave Voye is a Pittsburgh election official.