United States Announces Settlement with New York City Board of Elections Resolving Improper Removal of Voters From Registration Rolls
The Department of Justice and the United States Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York recently announced that it has entered into a settlement with the Board of Elections in the City of New York (NYCBOE), resolving the Department’s claims that the NYCBOE improperly removed New York City voters from voter registration rolls in violation of Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA). Under the terms of the settlement, the NYCBOE will ensure that the names of affected voters will be restored to the City’s voter registration list.
The Justice Department’s investigation found that the NYCBOE removed approximately 117,000 voters from the voter registration list solely due to the voters’ failure to vote, something that federal law forbids. The NYCBOE also failed to follow NVRA procedures designed to protect voters from wrongful removal from the voter registration list.
The NVRA includes requirements for maintaining voter registration lists in elections for federal office. The NVRA requires that states make a reasonable effort to remove voters who may have become ineligible due to having died or moved. At the same time, the NVRA has protections against wrongful removal, including specific procedures for voters who may have moved and a requirement that voters cannot be removed solely because he or she has not voted.
The settlement also requires the NYCBOE to develop and implement voter registration list maintenance procedures that comply fully with federal law and protect New York City voters from improper removal from voter registration lists in the future. The parties will submit the settlement to a federal judge for court approval.
“Complete and accurate voter registration lists strengthen our democracy,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General John Gore of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Civil Rights Division commends the Board of Elections for working with the Division to ensure that New York City’s voter registration list accurately reflects its eligible registrants, as envisioned by the National Voter Registration Act.”
“The improper removal of voters from the rolls deprives voters of their voice in choosing their elected representatives,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Bridget M. Rohde of the Eastern District of New York. “The settlement in this case restores that voice and ensures that eligible voters will be heard in the future.”
More information about the National Voter Registration Act and other federal voting laws is available on the Department of Justice website at https://www.justice.gov/crt/voting-section. Complaints about voter registration practices may be reported to the Civil Rights Division at 1-800-253-3931.