Voter purges — the often controversial practice of removing voters from registration lists in order to keep them up to date — are poised to be one of the biggest threats to the ballot in 2018. Activist groups and some state officials have mounted alarming campaigns to purge voters without adequate safeguards. If successful, these efforts could lead to a massive number of eligible, registered voters losing their right to cast a ballot this fall. Properly done, efforts to clean up voter rolls are important for election integrity and efficiency. Done carelessly or hastily, such efforts are prone to error, the effects of which are borne by voters who may show up to vote only to find their names missing from the list.
Many of the voter purge efforts examined by the Brennan Center for Justice here not only risk disenfranchisement, but also run afoul of federal legal requirements. These efforts point to a decentralized, hard-to-trace mode of voter suppression — one that is perhaps less sweeping than voter ID, proof-of-citizenship, and similar legislation enacted by 23 states over the last decade. But the effect of voter purges can be equally devastating.
One example? In 2016, Arkansas’ secretary of state sent county clerks the names of more than 50,000 people who were supposedly ineligible to vote because of felony convictions. Those county clerks began to remove voters without any notice. The state later discovered the purge list was riddled with errors: it included at least 4,000 people who did not have felony convictions. And among those on the list who once had a disqualifying conviction, up to 60 percent of those individuals were Americans who were eligible to vote because they had their voting rights restored back to them.
Full Article: Voter Purges: The Risks in 2018 | Brennan Center for Justice.