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Court: Illinois Must Forfeit Voter Roll Data To Conservative Group


An Illinois district court judge ruled last week that state officials must give a coalition of conservative groups access to Illinois’ list of registered voters dating back to the state’s past 15 elections.

In her July 18 decision, Judge Sara Ellis ruled that as part of an agreement between the state and the Illinois Conservative Union (ICU) — a self-described “coalition of [Illinois-based] conservative groups and grassroots activists” — Illinois must provide plaintiffs with “the current centralized statewide list of registered voters for Illinois (the “Illinois Voter Registration List”) in
electronic format.”

According to the ruling, this will give the ICU access to information such as a registrant’s “full name,” “residential street address number and name,” “state voter identification number,” and “status (active or inactive),” among other data. Registrants protected by federal or state statutes mandating confidentiality — such as those protecting stalking victims — would have their information excluded or redacted, however.

“Any violation of this Agreement and the Confidentiality Order, as set forth herein, shall be deemed a material breach of the Agreement,” the ruling reads.

Initially filed by Judicial Watch — a conservative watchdog group — in September 2020, the lawsuit against Illinois alleged that the Democrat-led state “refused to allow the … Illinois Conservative Union and three lawfully registered Illinois voters to obtain a copy of the state’s voter registration list.” While the National Voter Registration Act mandates that states make “all records” related to programs used to ensure accurate voter rolls be made “available for public inspection,” Illinois purportedly stonewalled the ICU and three voters’ efforts to access such information by making them view the database “one record at a time, on a single computer screen, during ‘normal business hours.'”

Plaintiffs were also allegedly required to travel to Springfield in order to view the records, which, according to Judicial Watch, is 200 miles from where they live.

“Clean voter rolls mean cleaner elections. This is a victory for all legal voters in Illinois,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said of the ruling in a statement. “Voters will now have the transparency that federal law requires in order to ensure elections in Illinois are more honest and cleaner.”

A Judicial Watch press release announcing last week’s court ruling claims the watchdog group will be producing a study “based on recent census data and information Illinois reported to the federal Election Assistance Commission” that purportedly shows how “14% of Illinois’ counties have more registered voters than citizens over 18” and the state “has close to 800,000 inactive registrants.”

It’s worth mentioning that election integrity groups such as the Voter Reference Foundation have consistently ranked Illinois as one of the worst states when it comes to transparency of election data and overall election operations. The Heritage Foundation has also given Illinois similarly poor marks for its lack of election transparency.

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