With two months until Virginians decide which of two polar opposites — Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli — will be their next governor, tens of thousands of voters could be removed from the rolls in a statewide purge. Approximately 57,000 Virginians have been flagged as being registered in another state, and counties are removing some from the voter rolls without any notice or opportunity to rebut the claim. Before conservatives lose their marbles that this is clear and irrefutable evidence of voter fraud, it’s worthwhile to consider how voter registration works. Each state maintains its own roll rather than a nationwide system. When Joe America, who had been registered in Richmond, moves to Philadelphia and registers there, he’s not required to cancel his Virginia registration before enrolling in Pennsylvania.
The process for removing registrations of people who have moved elsewhere varies from state to state, but generally involves periodic comparisons of lists between states to flag and remove people like Joe America who have moved elsewhere.
Clearly, given the decentralized 50-voter-roll system we currently have, there’s a need for the lists to be periodically cleaned up. But there are a number of issues that make Virginia’s current purge of up to 57,000 voters problematic.
… In the 2009 election, approximately two million Virginians cast a ballot. If all 57,000 registrations that were flagged are ultimately cancelled, that would represent approximately three percent of all votes, a potentially decisive factor in a close election.