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Philadelphia City Commissioners Sued for Concealing Election Records

"Corrupted voter rolls provide the perfect environment for voter fraud."

A woman wears an "I voted" sticker after voting in Massachusetts' primary election in the East Boston neighborhood of Boston, Tuesday, March 1, 2016. Voters from Vermont to Colorado, Alaska to American Samoa and a host of states in between were heading to polling places and caucus sites on the busiest day of the 2016 primaries.(AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)

The Indiana-based Public Interest Legal Foundation announced that it is suing the city of Philadelphia in federal court Monday for its failure to respond to information requests regarding possible non-citizen voters.

PILF filed the lawsuit Monday against the Philadelphia City Commissioners on behalf of the Virginia-based American Civil Rights Union election integrity group, according to the Washington Free Beacon. ACRU and PILF sought answers to their inquiries about Philadelphia's surprisingly high number of registered voters in comparison with the number of citizens actually eligible to vote during elections. But when the city's commissioners did not respond to the inquiries, PILF filed the lawsuit against them.

Image source: Getty Images Image source: Getty Images

"In response to these unusual circumstances, the plaintiff utilized protections in the National Voter Registration Act that require Philadelphia to allow physical inspection of election records related to voter registration and list maintenance programs," PILF's website states. "The plaintiff requested information from Philadelphia about tools used to ensure that non-citizens are not registering to vote, as well as other records. Philadelphia failed even to respond to the request, and thus the lawsuit followed."

The lawsuit also states that the publicly available information published by the U.S. Census Bureau and the Federal Election Commission seemed to indicate that Philadelphia is failing to comply with Section 8 of the National Voter Registration Act.

"Federal law requires election officials to conduct a reasonable effort to maintain voter registration lists free of dead voters, ineligible voters and voters that have moved away," the lawsuit reads. "In short, your county has nearly more registrants than eligible citizens living in the county and may not be conducting reasonable list maintenance to ensure that non-citizens are not properly registering to vote."

But the city of Philadelphia did not respond to PILF's requests for updated registration data, the number of voters ineligible for various reasons, the source agencies that provided this information, the records indicating citizenship or immigration statuses, and more, the Free Beacon noted.

"Corrupted voter rolls provide the perfect environment for voter fraud. Failure to clean the rolls aggravates longstanding problems of voter fraud in Philadelphia," said J. Christian Adams, PILF's president and general counsel, according to its website. "Philadelphia may not be using all the available tools to prevent non-citizens from registering and voting. Concealing list maintenance records from the public isn’t good government, and it violates Federal election law."

Follow Kathryn Blackhurst (@kablackhurst) on Twitter

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