Vice President Mike Pence, leader of President Trump’s shady “Elections Integrity” commission kicked off its first meeting last month with a promise that it would have “no preconceived notions or preordained results.” But like many of its other members, commissioner J. Christian Adams has done little to hide what has been his end-game: bullying state and local election officials into aggressive voter registration purges that civil rights groups worry will end in eligible voters getting kicked off the rolls. Now he will be joining on the commission several other figures known for their efforts to make it harder — not easier – to vote in an endeavor that many in the voting rights community believe will be used to justify tougher voting laws, including measures that will prompt sloppy voter purges. For more than half a decade, Adams has been on his own private sector crusade to pressure election officials to agree to voter purge protocols beyond what are required by law.
He, along with a constellation of other GOP lawyers affiliated with a handful of under-the-radar conservative legal groups, have sent a flurry of letters warning election officials that they’ll sue if they did not do more to trim down their registration lists. In a handful of places, they’ve followed through with lawsuits, but have achieved minimal success in getting judges to ordain their views on voter purges. The tide may be turning, however. A trial just finished in Broward County, Florida, in a case that voting rights advocates worry will boost conservatives’ abilities to pressure jurisdictions across the country to purge their rolls.
The case was brought by Adams’ legal advocacy group, the Public Interest Legal Foundation, on behalf of another conservative group, the American Civil Rights Union, that Adams is oft affiliated with. The final ruling in his case against Broward County’s Supervisor of Elections, Brenda Snipes, is expected in the months to come.