The Democratic Party of Virginia is seeking a preliminary injunction to stop the State Board of Elections and the commonwealth’s 132 local registrars from purging names from their voter registration lists. The move, less than a month before statewide elections, comes ahead of the Oct. 15 deadline to register to vote. A judge will hear the injunction request Oct. 18 in U.S. District Court in Alexandria. The purge list of 57,000 voters — broken down by locality and provided to local registrars by the State Board of Elections — is “replete with errors” and includes thousands of voters who reside in Virginia and who are lawfully registered to vote, according to a memorandum filed late last week in support of the Democratic Party’s motion. The State Board of Elections said in a statement that it is required by federal law to “conduct list maintenance activities to ensure the accuracy of the voter rolls.” It says it does not cancel voters by itself but directs local registrars to “carefully review all data” to ensure it properly cancels registrations.
In Chesterfield County, Registrar Lawrence C. Haake III said that in the list of the more than 2,200 active and inactive voters he was told to purge, a preliminary examination revealed more than 170 errors among about 1,000 active voters.
Haake, a Republican who provided a statement included in the memorandum filed by the Democratic Party, said the purge list included voters whose out-of-state registration data were 10 years older than more recent, valid registration and voting history in Virginia. “If I can find a 17 percent error rate among 1,000, what am I going to find when I start digging?” Haake said.