The American voter registration database is under attack.
That’s the message from a group of Republican state legislators and advocacy groups, who sent a letter to state election boards Thursday urging them to reject any new voter registration requirements for the 2016 election cycle.
The groups argues the new requirements, which they call the “Elections Day Registration” requirement, would require people to register to vote by April 15, 2017.
States are already required to register voters by March 31, 2020, but that deadline has been extended for the next two election cycles, leaving them with a backlog of registration applications.
That backlog has pushed up the number of applications submitted to the state elections office to more than 300,000, which the groups say would require millions of dollars to update.
“We need to make sure our elections are protected,” said Rep. Scott Peters (D-Calif.), the top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
The new requirements are part of a federal law called the “Preventing Fraud Act” that was signed by President Donald Trump on March 21, and that requires states to set up and run voter registration databases.
It was a big deal at the time.
The Trump administration had been moving to make states register to cast ballots by Election Day, but many of the states had already done so.
They had already started accepting applications.
The requirement would have required states to provide a list of people who had been registered to vote since the last election, and the information would have been publicly available.
The letter said that the state’s current system for voter registration would not meet the requirements, and would be “further hindered by the implementation of the [Preventning Fraud Act] requirements.”
“With this law, there is no requirement to provide access to the voter registration application information and the state would have no way to track down potential new voters and ensure they are eligible to vote,” the letter read.
It was unclear how many states have signed on to the letter, which was signed jointly by Reps.
Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Chris Stewart (R – Wisc.), and Peter King (R.I.), and Rep. Jeff Denham (R.-Calif.), a senior member of the House Ways and Means Committee.
But the letter said the state parties had already accepted more than 70,000 applications.
It also said that, “the Department of Justice is working with the states to expedite the issuance of the voter information and verification requirements.”
The Justice Department told the House committee that the department has been working with states to ensure that they comply with the new law.
But it did not say if the department would work with states that have already submitted applications.
A similar request for the states was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Brennan Center for Justice, and other groups in December.
The states that signed on include Wisconsin, Kansas, and Nebraska.
The states that filed a joint request with the Justice Department are Utah, Michigan, Missouri, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania.
In all, more than 150 states and the District of Columbia have signed onto the letter.
The Obama administration in 2013 proposed new rules that would have forced states to begin collecting and using voter information by March 5, 2020.
The rule was blocked by the courts.
The Justice and Homeland Security departments said they would continue to review the states’ applications, but they had no immediate comment.
The House Oversight Committee has also been working on a bill that would require states to use information from a new state database to verify that voters have voted in at least three previous elections.
The legislation is expected to be introduced in the coming weeks.