Pennsylvania is set to play a major role in deciding the 2020 U.S. Presidential Election.
Key battleground areas include Pennsylvania’s 17th Congressional district, which encompasses all of Beaver and parts of Allegheny and Butler counties. The 17th district’s seat is currently held by incumbent Conor Lamb (D), who is serving his first full term in the House of Representatives.
With each election, voter fraud is a concern, particularly in swing states.
Allegheny County, the state’s second-most populous county, has 957,000 registered voters. In the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, Hillary Clinton secured just shy of 56% of the vote in Allegheny County. However, Donald Trump won every other Western Pennsylvania county in that election.
According to Judicial Watch, more than 15% of registered voters in Allegheny County are inactive.
The county is divided into two Congressional districts: Pennsylvania’s 17th and 18th. In 2018, Rep. Mike Doyle (D), who is currently serving his 13th term in Congress, ran unopposed in the newly-redrawn 18th district that includes the entire city of Pittsburgh.
Judicial Watch has sent letters to four Pennsylvania counties (including Allegheny), promising a federal lawsuit if the voter rolls are not purged of inactive voters within 90 days.
“Dirty voting rolls can mean dirty elections and Judicial Watch will insist, in court if necessary, that states follow federal law to clean up their voting rolls,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said in a statement. “It is common sense that voters who die or move away be removed from the voting rolls.”
Feeling the pressure, the Allegheny County Board of Elections has responded to this request. The board informed CBS Pittsburgh that they have started the process of removing 69,000 inactive voters this year.
“I would concede that we are behind in culling our rolls,” Board of Elections Manager Dave Voye told KDKA. “We are in the process of doing so.”
This reporter spoke with Robert Popper, Director of Judicial Watch’s Election Integrity Program, about voter registration in Allegheny County.
“They have a registration rate of 98%,” Popper told this reporter. “It’s still implausible and is exceedingly unlikely. Typical registration rates are from the mid-70s to low-80s.”
Prior to joining Judicial Watch, Mr. Popper worked for eight years, five as deputy chief of the Voting Section, in the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. In his capacity with the DOJ, Popper garnered numerous professional awards.
“Every two years, (Judicial Watch) hires professionals and experts to analyze the data that was provided to the U.S Elections Assistance Commission (EAC),” said Popper. “The EAC publishes a report every two years. In this report, which comes out every odd-numbered year, they collate all of the answers to certain survey questions by registration from all of the counties and state in the country.”
Popper says that there are about 3,000 counties in the nation and that Judicial Watch typically have enough date to analyze about 2,600 of them. The first thing they look for are counties with high registration rates. Judicial Watch found that 378 counties nationwide have more voter registrations than citizens ages 18 or older who are able vote.
“Allegheny County does not quite have that level of registration,” Popper told this reporter. “They have a registration rate of 98%. It’s still implausible and is exceedingly unlikely. Typical registration rates are from the mid-70s to low-80s. Often there are inactive registrations but it’s rare that there are as many as there are in Allegheny County.”
Mr. Popper says these counties should be complying with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) and there should be a process in place for removing people who have moved out of state.
Popper adds that if an inactive voter fails to respond to a letter asking them to confirm their residential address, the NVRA process allows them to remain on the state’s voter roll for two federal elections before being removed.