La. Sec’y of State: DOJ abusing Motor Voter law for ‘political agenda’

Louisiana Secretary of State Tom Schedler told The Daily Caller that the federal Motor Voter law was set up to “ensure controversy” and that the Obama administration is using it “to advance a political agenda.”

“I think it’s time for someone in the states to stand up against this foolishness coming out of Washington D.C.,” he said.

Schedler’s concerns echo those of a former Justice Department civil rights lawyer who recently told a Tulane Law School audience that the Obama administration is selectively choosing which parts of the National Voter Registration Act to enforce, in order to expand the voter rolls in every way possible.

The Obama DOJ filed suit against Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration in July 2011, claiming that the state failed to provide eligible voters with sufficient opportunities to register. Under Section 7 of the Motor Voter law that President Bill Clinton signed in 1993, state health and social service agencies are required to offer voter registration forms to all eligible adults.

Project Vote, an affiliate of the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) has filed a separate Motor Voter suit against Louisiana, in partnership with the NAACP.

Both lawsuits focus on Section 7 of the law while ignoring Section 8, a provision requiring state officials to keep voter rolls up to date, and to purge the names of deceased and ineligible voters in order to reduce the opportunity for voter fraud.

Schedler told TheDC that Louisiana government agencies have taken a “proactive approach” toward voter registration. He also explained that there is no evidence of state employees deliberately neglecting to make voter registration forms available, even though citizens who come to the same agency 10 times for services must, by law, be offered the same voter-registration opportunity on all 10 occasions.

“With all the challenges we have today, I find it hard to believe that our federal officials having nothing better to do than filing these kinds of suits,” Schedler exclaimed.

While attorneys in the Obama Justice Department are busy enforcing Section 7 of the in the run up to the November elections, they have consistently declined to enforce the anti-fraud Section 8 for ideological reasons, said attorney J. Christian Adams during a recent Tulane Law School forum sponsored by the Federalist Society.

Adams is a five-year DOJ veteran who served in the department’s Civil Rights Division.

“Congress passed Section 7 and Section 8 as a way to increase participation and as a way to combat voter fraud,” Adams said during his talk. “It was a compromise.”

“Section 7 would not have become law without Section 8, because there would not have been enough votes in the Senate to prevent a filibuster of Motor Voter. What we have now in the Justice Department are bureaucrats who have vetoed out that compromise from 1993.”

In his book “Injustice,” Adams described how Obama’s top DOJ appointees scuttled Section 8 investigations that could have limited the opportunity for fraudulent voting.

Deputy Assistant Attorney General Julie Fernandes made it clear during a “brown bag” meeting in November 2009, he wrote, that the agency had “no interest in enforcing that provision of the law” since it was not related to boosting voter turnout.

Christopher Coates, the former chief of the Civil Rights Division’s Voting Section, testified in September 2010 before the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, saying that there were eight U.S. states with more voter names listed on some counties’ registration forms than there were citizens of eligible voting age. This, he said, put those states out of compliance with Section 8 requirements.