The New York City Board of Elections is admitting it broke state and federal law when it improperly removed voters from the rolls ahead of the presidential primary last spring, including more than 117,000 voters in Brooklyn. That’s according to a draft consent decree announced Tuesday— nearly a year after the Board was sued in federal court for violating the National Voter Registration Act and state election law. The Brooklyn voter purge was first reported by WNYC just days before last spring’s primary election. As a part of the settlement, the Board agreed to a series of remedial measures that will be in place at least through the next presidential election, November 2020 — pending court approval. The deal restores the rights of improperly purged voters and establishes a comprehensive plan to prevent illegal voter purges in future elections.
“I see their willingness to grapple with this problem as a significant step forward,” said Susan Lerner, head of the good government group Common Cause New York, the lead plaintiff in the case.
The lawsuit was originally filed in November 2016 by the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under the Law, Latino Justice/PRLDEF and Dechert LLP on behalf of Common Cause New York and several individual plaintiffs. In early 2017, both the Justice Department and New York State Attorney General’s office made motions to join the lawsuit.