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Gavel and scales

The nonprofit watchdog group Judicial Watch has amended an April 2020 lawsuit against the commonwealth and various counties over purging those ineligible to vote from the rolls to include among others Indiana County.

As amended on Nov. 8, the lawsuit names Indiana Board of Commissioners Chairman R. Michael Keith and county Voting & Elections Director Debra L. Streams, as well as other individuals in counties across the state.

However, Indiana County Solicitor Matthew Budash believes Indiana’s part in that case can be settled quickly, saying faulty data led to the suit by Washington, D.C.-based Judicial Watch, and that voters who were deemed ineligible had in fact been removed from Indiana County rolls.

The lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in Harrisburg cites the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.

According to Judicial Watch’s filing, “the NVRA requires states to ‘conduct a general program that makes a reasonable effort to remove the names of ineligible voters from the official lists of eligible voters’ by reason of death or change of address.”

The filing goes on to say, “under Section 8 of the NVRA, a voter becomes ‘ineligible’ and subject to removal from a jurisdiction’s voter rolls when the voter asks to be removed from the rolls, does not respond to an address inquiry and fails to vote during a specified statutory period, dies, or is disqualified from voting under state law because of a criminal conviction or mental incapacity; or when an erroneous registration record is corrected.”

The Indiana County commissioners approved an agreement with the Pittsburgh law firm of Babst Calland to represent the county in the lawsuit.

Budash said the rate for that role works out to $240 per hour.