West Virginia’s secretary of state reported last month that more than 100,000 voters — about one in 12 registered voters — had been purged from the rolls prior to the upcoming election. As we documented in a major July report, West Virginia is one of several states that have purged their rolls more aggressively in recent years, raising concerns that eligible voters could be disenfranchised. In order to keep voter rolls accurate, election officials need to periodically remove the names of voters who have died or moved. But purges conducted without sufficient care can lead to the removal of eligible voters. West Virginia’s removals deserve close scrutiny. Some voters in the state have reported problems including being unable to access their records online, and counties reported differing remedies for restoring the registrations of those removed by mistake.
The Brennan Center reviewed public reports and conducted interviews with voters and election officials to assess West Virginia’s voting landscape leading up to next month’s election.
West Virginia has removed 102,797 voters from the rolls since the beginning of 2017. The process began when West Virginia Secretary of State Mac Warner provided data on potentially ineligible voters to county election clerks, who then removed records from voter registration lists. Nearly half of the removals — more than 47,000 in total — had occurredby April 2017.