Tom Fitton’s Judicial Watch organization recently scored what seemed like a victory in the war against corruption in elections. According to an announcement posted on their site  on December 30, 2022, they recently settled a case against New York City’s Board of Elections (BOE). The suit alleged that New York City violated a law requiring them to remove ineligible voters from the rolls.
The lawsuit claims that over a 6 year period, only 22 names were removed from New York City’s rolls, a city of over 5.5 million voters. In contrast, tiny Yates County, with only 14,500 voters, removed 1,251 records  during the same time period. The lawsuit points out that over 600,000 New York City residents are estimated to have changed their residence per year between 2016-2020. None of those former residents can legally remain on the rolls, the lawsuit says.
Settlement terms  agreed to by Judicial Watch required the New York City BOE to remove “outdated registrations” pursuant to Section 8(d)(1)(B) of the National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA), 52 U.S.C. §20507 . To satisfy their obligation, the BOE sent notice to Judicial Watch that in February 2022, they removed a total of 441,083 registrations from the New York City voter rolls. That does sound like a victory, even the “Big Election Integrity Victory” it is touted as on Judicial Watch’s website. However, there are reasons for concern.
New York Citizens Audit (NYCA) is a grassroots group of volunteers who have spent over a year studying New York’s voter rolls. Among other things, they have found that many of New York’s problematic registrations are located in or near the 5 counties that comprise New York City: Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, and New York. These are the same counties sued by Judicial Watch. According to NYCA’s “Deficits Report ,” there are more questionable registrations in those 5 counties than were reportedly removed pursuant to Judicial Watch’s settlement with the BOE.
According to the US Census, New York State and New York City have had declining populations over the past several years. The census estimates that  between April 1st, 2020, and July 1st, 2022 (the period covered by the Judicial Watch lawsuit and settlement), New York State had a net loss of 524,079 residents. They further estimate  a loss of 180,341 people during the period July 2021-July 2022 in New York City alone.
Voter rolls delivered to NYCA by the New York State BOE on October 12, 2021, and May 16, 2022, were compared to see how many records were removed from New York City. Their comparison showed a net gain of 82,578 registrations, not a loss, despite a net loss to population over the same time period.
The trend in voter registrations is the opposite of the declining population found in census figures. This can be seen by comparing the 4 dated databases provided to NYCA. Those databases show a consistently rising number of registrants over a 14 month span.
If New York City’s BOE removed 441,083 records, as they claim, then how did the number of records in New York City go up by 82,578 while losing population? At the least, this implies a gain, not of 82,578 voters but of that many voters plus the 441,083 voters the county supposedly removed. Together, that is an increase of 523,661 new records or about 9.52% of the total population of the city.
The counties in question could claim that NYCA is looking at the state voter rolls, but Judicial Watch sued over the county rolls. That is true, but it is also an unsatisfactory answer. Under state law, the state voter roll database, known as “NYSVoter,” is the sole official voter roll  for the state. In other words, the county databases are not “official.” Under the law, county databases must be synced with the state database in real-time as changes are made to county databases. In addition, county BOEs have “sole responsibility  for adding, changing, canceling, or removing voter registration records.”
This means that any changes made to the county records pursuant to the Judicial Watch settlement had to be made at the county level. Those changes should have been immediately propagated to the NYSVoter system in real-time to keep the county and state records in sync. If that was done, then 523,661 records were added at about the same time, despite a net population loss. If so, the sheer number of added records makes them suspicious. If the county didn’t remove records as they claimed, then the county may have perjured itself to the court and to Judicial Watch by claiming otherwise.
Judicial Watch may want to ask for a list of records, complete with state and county voter ID numbers, that were supposedly removed. Then, those numbers can be compared to the current version of the voter rolls to be sure they are not present. If they aren’t there, then they may want to ask about the large number of added registrations over the same period, to verify whether they are valid. If they are valid, someone may want to call up the census and ask how 523,661 new voters were registered in a city that just lost 180,341 residents.