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.
Here are 4 practices used by unscrupulous election officials to deny citizens the right to vote:
“Challenge Purges” and Other Misuse of Challenger Laws: Most states have “challenger” laws allowing officials, or even private parties, to question voters’ eligibility at the polls on Election Day. These laws are designed to apply to a different set of circumstances than the laws governing purges, but are sometimes being used in their stead
New Potential for “Non-citizen” Voter Purges: There is a substantial threat that some election officials will initiate purges of suspected non-citizens this year. Without any evidence of a problem, the president and like-minded allies have raised the specter of non-citizen voting since the 2016 election. This creates a political incentive to hunt for non-citizen voters on the rolls. In the past, these types of efforts have threatened to disenfranchise many eligible voters.
One notorious example was Florida’s 2012 purge. The secretary of state initially reported that a cross-reference of the voter rolls with driver’s license data showed up to 180,000 non-citizens were registered in the state. State officials then compiled a list of more than 2,600 voters for counties to purge, right before the federal election that year. The program was ultimately blocked by a federal court. As it turned out, upon further examination only 85 individuals were found appropriate for removal on the grounds that they were non-citizens (and only one was actually charged for voting).
Interstate Crosschecking is Posing New Threats: This year, there are new reasons for concern over efforts to purge the voter rolls using the Interstate Voter Registration Crosscheck (“Crosscheck”) program. Crosscheck contains records for 26 states and nearly 100 million voters. Sharing voter data across state lines is not new, but there are problems with Crosscheck that should cause concern. First, Crosscheck data is inaccurate…
“Voter Fraud Vigilantes” and the Trump Administration are Pressuring States Voter fraud alarmists are increasingly focusing their efforts on the registration rolls. In recent years, organizations such as the American Civil Rights Union (ACRU), Judicial Watch, Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF), and True the Vote have both threatened and filed lawsuits seeking to institute more aggressive purge practices.